Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ Holds Off ‘Clifford The Big Red Dog’ For The Top Spot; ‘Belfast’ Enters The Awards Race In Limited Release
There were no massive surprises at the box office this weekend as Marvel’s splashy superhero tentpole, Eternals, added $27.5 million in its sophomore outing, holding off a surprisingly strong $16.4 million debut from Paramount’s family-friendly canine film, Clifford the Big Red Dog, atop the domestic charts during an otherwise sleepy weekend. Meanwhile, Kenneth Branagh’s buzzy coming-of-age drama, Belfast, officially entered the awards-season derby in limited release, snagging an eighth-place finish with $1.8 million.

Despite less-than-stellar reviews (it’s the first Marvel film with a “rotten” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregator site) and mediocre word of mouth (based on its soft ‘B’ CinemaScore grade), director Chloe Zhao’s Eternals remained the No. 1 film in North America in its second weekend, despite sliding -61.4% from the previous frame. That sophomore slump places the film between the second-weekend dips of its recent Marvel stablemates Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (-52%) and Black Widow (-67%). The PG-13-rated film, which stars Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, and Richard Madden among others, played in 4,090 locations and earned a $6,723 per-screen average. After two weeks, the blockbuster-wannabe has racked up $118.8 million domestically and has pulled in another $162.6 million from overseas, bringing its current worldwide haul to $281.4 million.

Finishing in the runner-up spot was Paramount’s Clifford the Big Red Dog, the only new contender with a wide release. The PG-rated live-action film based on the popular kids’ book series about a giant, lovable canine bowed (or bow-wowed) to $16.4 million over its first weekend. A Wednesday-opening head start pushed its first-week total to $22 million (those numbers were, no doubt, diminished by the movie’s simultaneous release on the Paramount+ streaming platform). The tail-wagging tale, which stars Jack Whitehall, Darby Camp, Tony Hale, and SNL’s Kenan Thompson, earned a 48% green splat from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes and an ‘A’ grade from its largely pint-sized audience on CinemaScore. Clifford unspooled in 3,700 theaters and earned a $4,437 per-screen average. The film will not open overseas until next month. However, it has the North American children’s market mostly to itself until Disney’s Encanto hits multiplexes on November 24.

In third place was Warner Bros.’ Dune, which added $5.5 million in its fourth weekend in theaters (the sci-fi spectacle is also currently airing on HBO Max). The PG-13-rated film’s weekend gross fell off -29.4% from the prior frame. Playing in 3,282 locations, the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s cult novel starring Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and Oscar Isaac scored a $1,675 per-screen average. To date, Dune has racked up $93.1 million at the domestic box office and a far spicier $258.1 million from overseas, bringing its combined worldwide tally to $351.2 million.

In fourth place was MGM’s 007 sequel, No Time to Die, which tacked on $4.6 million in its sixth session. The latest 007 adventure (starring Daniel Craig in his swan song as the superspy), slipped -23.5% from the previous weekend, scoring a $1,611 per-screen average in 2,867 venues. The PG-13-rated film has now earned $150.5 million at the domestic box office and a whopping $558.2 million abroad. Its combined worldwide box office is $708.7 million—making it only the second Hollywood film of the pandemic era to surpass the $700 million global milestone, putting in the rarefied company of F9: The Fast Saga, which topped out at $721 million.

Rounding out the Top five was Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The PG-13-rated supervillain sequel starring Tom Hardy, dipped -10.4% from the previous weekend, pulling in $4 million in North America. Playing in 2,538 theaters, the movie scored a $1,576 per-screen average in its seventh weekend, putting its total domestic haul at $202.7 million, making it only the second major-studio film of 2021 to pass $200 million at the North American box office along with Shang-Chi. Venom 2 has added $238.8 million in foreign ticket sales, bringing its current global box-office total to $441.5 million.

Finally, the arrival of the festival-circuit favorite, Belfast, opened in limited release, landing in eighth place. The PG-13-rated coming-of-age story based on writer-director Branagh’s childhood debuted to $1.8 million in just 580 theaters, putting its per-screen average at $3,103. The black-and-white critics’ darling from Focus Features, which has become an early favorite in the Oscars race, has not opened overseas yet. The film, which features Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, and Ciaran Hinds, currently has a 88% fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and grabbed an ‘A-‘ from CinemaScore.