Disney Led the Charge in November as 2017 Looks to Close Strong

by Brad Brevet

December 13, 2017

The year saw a lift from November box office grosses as this past month was only the third time ever November receipts totaled more than $1 billion, led by Disney and Marvel's release of Thor: Ragnarok, which delivered nearly 28% of the month's total. Heading into the November, 2017 was trailing 2016 by 5.3%, but coming out of it this year was 4.4% behind 2016 thanks to what was the third largest November ever and a 5.1% improvement over November last year.

Disney led the month — after not having released a film since Cars 3 in mid-June — with two new wide releases in Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok and Pixar's Coco, both of which have been overwhelmingly successful. Ragnarok was the month's highest grossing title with $281.7 million and Coco delivered the fourth largest three- and five-day Thanksgiving weekend opening ever and generated over $82 million in its first nine days in release. Coco's total has since climbed over $135 million domestically and over $400 million globally, already surpassing Cars 3 worldwide while Thor: Ragnarok has already out-performed both of its predecessors while becoming the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to top $300 million domestically and becoming the seventh largest worldwide release among the 17 films in the franchise with over $830 million so far.

Overall Disney brought in nearly $365 million in November to top all studios for the month by a wide margin, pushing the studio's 2017 gross to $1.76 billion. That's enough for second place behind Warner Bros. as of right now. WB finished the month of November with $1.97 billion and since became the first studio in 2017 to top $2 billion in domestic grosses. However, look for Disney to join the club in just a couple days as Last Jedi targets a $200+ million debut this weekend and Coco continues its stellar run.

Speaking of Warner Bros., the studio was the second highest grossing studio in November thanks to the release of Justice League. Despite the fact the film didn't perform as the studio would have hoped, Justice League's domestic gross should finish around $230-240 million, contributing to a year that is shaping up to be the second best in the studio's history domestically (behind only 2009) and WB's best ever worldwide after recently topping $5 billion at the global marketplace.

For many, the fact Lionsgate was the third highest grossing studio in November will come as a shock as the mid-November release of Wonder caught many off guard after opening with $27.5 million, going on to gross over $75 million in November and already topping $100 million domestically. The film contributed over 72% of the studio's overall take in November and serves as the studio's final release of the year.

Fox and Paramount took fourth and fifth place respectively. Both studios only had one new wide release in November that being Fox's Murder on the Orient Express and Paramount's Daddy's Home 2, both of which debuted on November 10 and have held close ever since with Orient Express holding a slight edge. Both films grossed over $75 million in November and have so far brought in over $90 million total.

On a more somber note, Paramount is currently shaping up to have its worst year since 2004 as its domestic grosses currently stand at just over $506 million. The studio was plagued by under-performing titles all year ranging from Transformers: The Last Knight falling well short of its predecessors to films such as Ghost in the Shell and Monster Trucks, each carrying budgets over $100 million while grossing just $40.5 million and $33.3 million respectively at the domestic box office. The studio's last 2017 release is Alexander Payne's Downsizing, which has already earned rave reviews along with Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild nominations, but it's too little too late to salvage what has been a rather rough year.

Getting back to November's highlights, A24's release of Lady Bird, which began its limited run on November 3 in just four theaters, has since gone on to gross over $22 million, of which $12.5 million was earned in November making it the tenth largest title for the month despite playing in no more than 791 theaters.

Similarly, Fox Searchlight's Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri debuted on November 10 and over the course of the month brought in just over $9 million while playing in no more than 614 theaters. The film has since gone on to gross over $18 million.

Stepping back a bit to look at the big picture, we are currently knee-deep in the holiday movie season which began on the first Friday in November and runs through New Year's week. As of December 11 the season is pacing 5.8% ahead of last year, which is a great sign as films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Pitch Perfect 3, The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle debut over the coming weeks not to mention the continued expansion of awards season features and the limited releases of much-talked about features including Steven Spielberg's The Post, Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread.

Finally, a list of selected films that closed out their domestic runs in November is featured below, ordered by cumulative gross. Notable titles on the list include Wonder Woman, Dunkirk and Annabelle: Creation, three major contributors to WB's banner year. Wonder Woman also deserves special mention as the year's highest grossing superhero release and one of only two films in 2017 (Beauty and the Beast being the other) to top $400 million domestically so far.

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