With No New Major Competition, ‘The Croods: A New Age’ Three-peats At No. 1 with $3 Million
With no new major competition at the domestic box office, Universal and DreamWorks’ animated sequel The Croods: A New Age repeated at No. 1 with $3 million in its third week in theaters. The PG-rated film, which features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds, has racked up $24.3 million in North America to date, making it a rare commercial success story during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A follow-up to the 2013 stone-age family hit which took in $187.2 million during its initial North American theatrical run seven years ago, The Croods: A New Age dipped -32.2% in its third weekend, scoring a $1,423 per-screen average in 2,115 theaters. It was the only film to surpass the $1 million mark at the domestic box office over the weekend. Overseas, the film has added a robust $52.1 million, bringing its cumulative worldwide gross to $76.3 million. However, The Croods’ three-week dominance may soon soften as the title becomes available on premium VOD this week.

Focus Features’ Half Brothers held onto the runner-up spot in its second 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, pulled in $490,000 in 1,386 theaters, translating to a $353 per-screen average. It has not opened internationally yet.

In third place was New Line’s re-release of its 2003 holiday staple, Elf. The PG-rated Will Ferrell-Christmas comedy added $400,000 in its fifth week back on the big screen, ticking up +27% from the previous frame. Elf unspooled in 850 theaters and earned a $470 per-screen average, adding $1.5 million year to date in its 2020 round. It has tacked on $110,815 overseas so far, bringing the worldwide tally of its latest run to $1.6 million. Elf earned $220.4 million worldwide in its original theatrical run 17 years ago.

It wasn’t the only holiday-season classic returning to theaters this week that landed in the Top 10. Warner Bros. had three re-releases that made the list: 2004’s The Polar Express nabbed the sixth-place slot with $245,000; 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation scored an seventh-place finish with $239,000; and 2017’s Wonder Woman landed in ninth with $189,000.

In fourth place was Universal and Blumhouse’s body-swap, horror-comedy Freaky, which scared up $315,000 in its fifth weekend, dipping -33.6% from the previous frame. The R-rated film, which stars Vince Vaughn as a serial killer and Kathryn Newton as a high-school student who switch bodies, had a $255 per-screen average in 1,235 theaters. Freaky has earned $8.2 million domestically so far and $6 million internationally, bringing its worldwide box office total to $14.2 million.

And in fifth was 101 Studios’ The War with Grandpa, which added $268,864 in its tenth week, dropping off -15.5% from the prior session. The PG-rated comedy starring Robert De Niro had a $247 per-screen average in 1,080 theaters. Its North American box-office total now stands at $18 million. The resilient kid-friendly comedy has also added $9.4 million overseas, bringing its worldwide tally to $27.3 million. The only other debut of note was Bleecker Street’s Wild Mountain Thyme, which bowed at No. 17 in limited release. The PG-13-rated romantic drama starring Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan earned $100,466 in 450 theaters, giving it a $223 per-screen average. It has not opened in international markets yet.

Beyond the numbers, the biggest box-office news of the week was the pushback from Warner Bros.’ recent announcement that all of its 2021 titles (including potential blockbusters such as James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Godzilla vs. Kong, In the Heights, Dune, and The Matrix 4) would debut simultaneously in theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service in the U.S. Theater owners were obviously unhappy about the move, but now such high-profile Warners’ directors as Christopher Nolan (Tenet) and Denis Villeneuve (the forthcoming Dune) have publicly voiced their objections to the strategy.

Meanwhile, Disney announced this week that its live-action remakes for Pinocchio and Peter Pan and Wendy would bypass theaters and premiere on the Mouse House’s streaming service, Disney+, while its computer-animated fantasy Raya and the Last Dragon would be released in theaters and on Disney+ on the same day and date in March of 2021. However, Disney did not clarify its plans for two of its other big titles, Marvel’s Black Widow and Pixar’s Luca, which are still slated to debut in theaters in 2021—for the moment.