Monster Hunter’ Debuts At No. 1 in North America With $2.2 Million, While ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Underwhelms Overseas
In another slow weekend at the domestic box office, Screen Gems’ Monster Hunter managed to finally unseat The Croods, debuting at No.1 with $2.2 million. It was the first time in nine weeks that a movie from a studio other than Universal sat in the top spot.

The action-packed adaptation of the hit Capcom videogame starring Milla Jovovich and Ron Perlman unspooled in 1,736 theaters and earned a $1,267 per-screen average during its opening frame. The PG-13-rated film added $4.8 million overseas, giving it a $7 million cumulative worldwide haul. Monster Hunter reunited Jovovich with the director of her popular Resident Evil films, Paul W.S. Anderson, who seems to know how to make films that appeal to audiences, if not critics.

In the runner-up slot, Universal and DreamWorks’ animated sequel The Croods: A New Age dipped -34.7% in its fourth week, pulling in $2 million in North America this weekend. The PG-rated film, which features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds, has racked up $27 million at the domestic box office and $57.5 million overseas so far—impressive numbers considering the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Croods’ tally no doubt would have been bigger this weekend (maybe even good enough to hold on to first place) had it not just premiered on VOD, giving audiences the option of watching the film at home. As it was, the film scored a $1,049 per-screen average in 1,906 theaters. Its worldwide box office total now stands at $84.5 million.

In third place was Lionsgate’s steamy thriller Fatale, the only other new title to bow in the top 10 this weekend. The latest spin on the tried-and-true Fatal Attraction infidelity formula, the R-rated film starring Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy pulled in $925,000 in its first weekend. Fatale played in 1,107 theaters and had a $835 per-screen average. It has not opened internationally yet. With its bearish 50% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and its bullish 87% rating from audiences, all signs point to Fatale becoming a guilty pleasure.

In fourth place was New Line’s 2020 re-release of its 2003 holiday staple, Elf. The PG-rated, Will Ferrell Christmas comedy added $365,000 in its sixth week back on the big screen, sliding -8.8% from the previous frame. Elf unspooled in 600 theaters and earned a $608 per-screen average. The film has made $1.9 million from its latest theatrical roll-out. It racked up $220.4 million worldwide in its original theatrical run 17 years ago.

Elf wasn’t the only holiday-season classic to pop up in the Top 10 this week. Warner Bros.’ 2004 hit The Polar Express landed in sixth place with $231,000 and Universal’s 2000 live-action Dr. Seuss adaptation How the Grinch Stole Christmas finished in ninth place with $130,000 as well.

In fifth place was Focus Features’ Half Brothers in its third week of release. The PG-13 rated, road-trip comedy, which stars Luis Gerardo Mendez and Connor Del Rio as estranged relatives born on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, dropped -48% from the previous week, pulling in $260,000 in 1,143 theaters, which translates to a $227 per-screen average. It has not opened internationally yet.

Still, arguably the biggest box-office story of the weekend didn’t take place at home, but rather abroad, as Warner Bros.’ eagerly awaited Wonder Woman 1984 finally debuted in 32 markets ahead of its US release on Christmas Day (when it will play in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service simultaneously). The superhero tentpole starring Gal Gadot pulled an underwhelming $38.5 million overseas. The all-important Chinese market accounted for $18.8 million of that total, which is a disappointment considering that the original Wonder Woman made $38 million there on its opening weekend in 2017.

It will be interesting to see if American moviegoers turn out in stronger numbers to see Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters on Christmas Day or decide to stream it at home by the fireplace instead. Either way, theater owners are trying to remain hopeful that among Wonder Woman and its fellow Christmas Day newcomers, Carey Mulligan’s Promising Young Woman and Tom Hanks’ News of the World, that audiences will return before 2020 comes to its end.