'Justice League' Stumbles in Domestic Debut as 'Wonder' Delivers Wondrous Results
by Brad Brevet
November 19, 2017
Warner Bros. and DC Comics' Justice League struggled compared to expectations as it failed to top $100 million over the course of its three-day weekend. Meanwhile, it was Lionsgate's Wonder that captured audience attention, debuting with an excellent $27 million, topping Thor: Ragnarok for a second place finish, positioning itself well for the holiday weeks ahead. Additionally, A24's Lady Bird continued its impressive run in limited release as it makes way for a nationwide debut over Thanksgiving weekend.
With an estimated $96 million, Justice League managed to top the weekend, but fell short of the low end of expectations. Despite bringing in $13 million from Thursday previews, which was $2 million more than Wonder Woman hauled in from preview screenings ahead of a $103.2 million debut, Justice League just couldn't crack the century mark, delivering the lowest opening for any of the films in DC's Extended Universe thus far.
Opening day audiences gave the film a "B+" CinemaScore and of that audience, 58% were male vs. 42% female and 69% were over the age of 25. It will be very interesting to see where the film goes from here as the four previous films in the DC Extended Universe have shown a variety of multipliers following their opening weekend. One might expect Justice League to follow patterns closer to the ~2.4x multipliers for Man of Steel* and Suicide Squad though, given the softer-than-expected opening, perhaps even closer to the 1.99x multiplier for Batman v Superman. In the end, we might be looking at a domestic run that could fall short of $200 million, though we're anticipating a finish just a bit over, similar to Godzilla's $200 million run in 2014 following its $93 million debut.
Internationally, the film brought in an estimated $185.5 million from 65 markets for a $281.5 million worldwide debut. This makes it one of the top twenty-five worldwide openings all-time and the twentieth ranked international opening over, besting the $185.1 million overseas opening from The Avengers, though it should be noted The Avengers debuted in only 39 markets during its opening weekend as international and worldwide opening comparisons are rarely apples-to-apples.
Leading the international charge, Justice League brought in an estimated $51.7 million from China, WB's second largest opening in the marketplace behind Batman v Superman. The film also brought in an estimated $14.2 million in Brazil, $9.8m in the UK, $9.6 million in Mexico, $8.8 million in Korea, $6.5 million in Russia, $6.3 million in Australia and $6 million in France. With most of the marketplace already in release Japan remains the last major opening for the film and that will take place next Thursday, November 23.
In second place is Lionsgate's Wonder, Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of R.J. Palacio's #1 New York Times bestseller, with an estimated $27 million. Strong reviews and group sales helped push the film well above industry expectations and audiences liked what they saw, awarding the film a rare "A+" CinemaScore. The audience was broken down 68% female vs. 32% male and of the overall audience, 66% were over the age of 25. All suggesting a strong couple of weeks ahead as the film looks to take advantage of the holidays to come as we're expecting this one to top $100 million domestically.
Disney and Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok falls to third place with an estimated $21.7 million in its third week in release. Justice League certainly took a chunk of its audience as it dipped over 60%. While Mojo's forecast called for a slightly smaller drop this isn't entirely unexpected as Thor: The Dark World dropped a similar amount over the same weekend in 2013 and Doctor Strange dropped 58.7% over the same weekend just last year. Ragnarok's domestic cume now stands just shy of $250 million.
Internationally, Thor: Ragnarok added an estimated $24.1 million pushing the film's international cume to $490.7 million for a global tally that currently stands at $738.1 million, making it the ninth largest release of 2017 to date. The film is still tracking +11% ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in the international marketplace and +17% ahead of Doctor Strange.
Paramount's Daddy's Home dropped 50% for a fourth place finish with an estimated $14.8 million and Fox's Murder on the Orient Express dipped 52% to land in fifth with an estimated $13.8 million. Both films crossed $50 million domestically this weekend.
Just outside the top five, in sixth place, is Sony and AFFIRM's The Star. The faith-based animated feature delivered an estimated $10 million opening, which isn't exactly a stellar start, but the film did receive an "A" CinemaScore. Opening demos show the film playing to an audience that was 62% female and 55% being 25 years of age or older. Looking ahead, The Star will look to play through the holidays, but it will have to battle for family eye balls as Pixar's Coco begins hitting theaters on Wednesday.
As mentioned in our lede, A24's Lady Bird impressed once again, delivering an estimated $2.5 million from 238 theaters (+201) for an eighth place finish. The film has enjoyed a strong platform release, grossing $4.7 million domestically, and it will expand nationwide over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Just behind it is another strong player still in limited release, Fox Searchlight's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which brought in an estimated $1.1 million from just 53 locations (+49) in its second weekend. The film played to an audience that was 53% female and, for the most part, a bit older with 66% of the audience coming in 50 years or older.
Three Billboards will expand to ~425 theaters on Wednesday, November 22 and is looking at expanding to 750-1,000 locations by December 1 depending on how it plays into the future, though things are currently looking good for the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award winner.
In limited release, Sony's Roman J. Israel, Esq. brought in an estimated $65,000 from four theaters ($16,250 PTA). The Denzel Washington starrer will expand next week, beginning on Wednesday, into ~1,500 theaters.
Additionally, GKIDs' The Breadwinner brought in an estimated $19,530 from three theaters ($6,510 PTA) in New York and Los Angeles. The film is looking to add several screens next Friday before a larger expansion on December 1. And IFC's Sweet Virginia brought in an estimated $5,084 from one theater.
Next week sees the release of Pixar's Coco on Wednesday, debuting in ~3,800 locations. Disney has long used the Thanksgiving holiday as a jumping off point for several of their animated features, including Pixar's Toy Story back in 1995. The tactic has proved a valuable one as Disney's Frozen not only holds the record for the largest three and five-day Thanksgiving opening weekends, the studio itself holds an astonishing nine of the top 10 spots in the Thanksgiving record books. We're expecting Coco to join the ranks.
Also launching next week are the limited releases of Darkest Hour and The Man How Invented Christmas as well as the aforementioned expansion of Sony's Roman J. Israel, Esq. into ~1,500 locations.
You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
* Based on Man of Steel's three-day opening
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