‘Wakanda Forever’ Drops 63% for $67 Million Weekend 2, ‘The Menu’ Chomps On Solid $9 Million Opening
After Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s $181 million opening led to a $209 million total domestic box office last weekend (the fourth best overall weekend of the year and the fifth best since the start of the pandemic), the numbers fell back down to Earth this weekend. The total box office came to just $100 million (making this the first time since July that there were two nine-digit weekends in a row), with Wakanda Forever leading the way at $67.3 million, down 63% from last weekend. While this isn’t a bad number for Wakanda Forever, the hopes that the film would hold markedly better than recent MCU films were in vain. All in all, it looks to play closer to this year’s earlier franchise installments Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (67% second weekend drop and multiplier of 2.2) and Thor: Love and Thunder (68% second weekend drop and multiplier of 2.4) than to the first Black Panther (45% second weekend drop and multiplier of 3.5).

The box office as a whole will continue to be sluggish until Avatar: The Way of Water opens on December 16, but the box office prospects for Wakanda Forever are looking good, even if the film will fall considerably short of its predecessor. The $288 million ten day cume is the year’s third best, and it should pull ahead of Multiverse of Madness (which had a $293 million ten day cume) over the next week, getting a boost from the Thanksgiving holiday week and weekend. It is likely to go on to become the year’s second highest grossing film yet, toppling Multiverse’s $411 million cume and finishing behind just Top Gun: Maverick (and potentially Avatar 2). The worldwide cume is now $546 million, and in holdover markets it dropped 49%, compared to the 56% drops on the year’s earlier MCU films in the same suite of markets.

Coming in second place with $9 million is Searchlight’s twisted fine dining genre film The Menu, which stars Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult. Bowing in 3,211 theaters, it is the widest release ever for the label, and it is tracking closely with their 2019 release Ready or Not, which opened to $8 million and went on to gross $28.7 million domestically and $57.6 million worldwide. That was a big success given the budget of just $6 million, but the economics are very different for the $30 million budget The Menu. Theatrical profitability aside, though, it’s not a bad start in this climate for an offbeat adult title. The well reviewed (90% on Rotten Tomatoes) thriller received a B CinemaScore, compared to B+ for Ready or Not. Its worldwide total is $15.2 million with around 40% of the rollout yet to be served.

One unexpected success at the box office this weekend was the 2,012 theater Fathom Events release of The Chosen Season 3: Episode 1 & 2. The series The Chosen, which tells the story of Jesus Christ and his ministry, saw its latest episodes hit the big screen to the tune of $8.2 million for the weekend, putting it in third place. This follows last December’s Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers, which grossed $9.1 million in its first five days (it opened on a Wednesday) and had a cume of $13.7 million in its two week run.

Black Adam took fourth place, adding $4.5 million to its tally for a cume of $157 million. Worldwide the total is now $366 million. It may be the highest grossing non-MCU film since summer ended, but it isn’t headed for a great finish when you factor in the roughly $200 million budget.

The season’s premier rom-com Ticket to Paradise also continues to chug along, taking fifth place with $3.2 million. The domestic total is now $61.6 million and the worldwide total is $159 million, which are very good numbers for the $60 million budget film.

Most notable outside of the top five is newcomer She Said, which opened in sixth place with a weak $2.25 million from 2,022 theaters. The drama from Universal stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the New York Times journalists whose investigative reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct sparked the MeToo movement. Despite the strong reviews (88% on Rotten Tomatoes), it had few takers. The positive audience reception (A CinemaScore) and awards buzz could give it decent legs, though it won’t have the momentum necessary to make up its $30 million budget.