Box office: ‘Renaissance’ opens in first, ‘Godzilla’ roars into Top 3

December kicked off with a scattered mix of wide releases, and it may have surprised some which movies did better than others. Read on for the weekend box office report.

The biggest high-profile release of the weekend was meant to be “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” AMC Theaters Distribution’s follow-up to its global blockbuster “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” though it opened in over 1,000 fewer theaters than “Eras” did. “Renaissance” opened in 2,539 theaters on Friday, receiving 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but from only 17 reviews. (Like “The Eras Tour,” AMC did not screen Beyoncé‘s film in advance for critics.)

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After making $11.5 million on Friday, including $5 million in Thursday previews, the movie only brought in an estimated $21 million to lead the weekend, which must seem like a disappointment compared to Swift’s film. Even so, audiences loved it, giving it an “A+” on CinemaScore, same as “The Eras Tour,” although one presumes anyone who went to see either movie was already a fan. “Renaissance” made another $6.4 million overseas for a global opening of $27.4 million.

Lionsgate’s hit prequel “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” took second place with $14.5 million, down 50% from Thanksgiving weekend, but bringing its domestic total to $121.2 million, making it the first movie since “Five Nights at Freddy’s” in October to cross the $100 million mark.

Venerable Japanese studio Toho Entertainment took North American distribution into their own hands for the prequel “Godzilla Minus One,” which opened in 2,308 theaters Friday after receiving stellar reviews. After making $2.1 million in Wednesday and Thursday previews (rolled into its $4.7 million Friday), the monster movie ended up with an estimated $11 million, averaging $4,779 per location. Audiences enjoyed the movie enough to give it an “A” CinemaScore, the same rating as 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Next up was DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls Band Together” in fourth with $7.6 million, down 57% from Thanksgiving weekend, to bring its domestic total to $74.8 million. Adding in the $85.8 million it has grossed overseas, it has taken in $160.6 million globally, not great compared to the original “Trolls” in 2016, but par for the course for animation these days.

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It narrowly edged out Disney’s “Wish,” which barely hung onto fifth place with $7.4 million, down 62% from last weekend. It’s almost unheard of for a Disney animated movie to drop out of the top five in its second weekend, so that’s a relief, although its $41.9 million grossed domestically in 10 days is nothing to write home about. (Marvel’s “The Marvels” was bumped right out of the top 10 in its fourth weekend, also something we rarely see, as it’s likely to be the very first Marvel Studios movie not to make $100 million domestically.)

Ridley Scott‘s historical epic “Napoleon” added another $7.1 million to its domestic take for sixth place, down a whopping 65% from its opening weekend, to bring its North American total to $45.7 million. It made another $28.6 million overseas this weekend to bring its global total to $91 million.

The Bollywood film “Animal” opened in 700 theaters on Friday and managed to bring in $6.1 million, an average of $8,771 per theater, which was better per location than Beyoncé’s movie.

Angel Studios released the sci-fi thriller “The Shift” into 2,450 theaters, but with terrible reviews, it ended up on the lower end of the top 10 in eighth place with an estimated $4.4 million. It received a not-so-great “B+” CinemaScore as well.

Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo‘s return to Hollywood with the holiday revenge thriller “Silent Night,” starring Joel Kinnaman, was met with indifference after receiving mixed reviews. It only made $3 million this weekend to end up in ninth place. Its “C” CinemaScore showed that audiences didn’t care for the movie any more than the critics.

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Eli Roth‘s “Thanksgiving,” the other holiday genre film in theaters, closed out the top 10 with $2.6 million, down 63% with a total of $28.4 million, just after the filmmaker announced that a sequel is in development.

Nicolas Cage‘s “Dream Scenario” expanded nationwide into 1,578 theaters on Friday, where it grossed $1.7 million for a total of $3.5 million. Emerald Fennell‘s “Saltburn” remained in a similar number of theaters, but it held up well from Thanksgiving, dropping just 16% to $1.6 million, also outside the top 10.

Only five players had “Godzilla Minus One” taking third place in this week’s box office prediction game, but fourth and fifth place were fairly evenly divided between a number of different movies, so we’ll have to see if we have any perfect scores.

It’s similar to last weekend when no players went six-for-six in the Thanksgiving game, but two players, “dante” and “Logan,” did guess five out of six correctly, both of them missing on what movie would take fifth place.

On Friday, Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki returns with his latest, “The Boy and the Heron,” being released nationwide, so check back on Wednesday for the weekend preview to see how it might fare against the returning movies.

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