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Universal and 'The Grinch' Top Third Largest November of All-Time

by Brad Brevet
 

 
December 12, 2018

For the fourth time, and for the second year in a row, November calendar grosses topped $1 billion at the domestic box office. However, while this November's grosses topped last year's, 2018 ranks as the third highest grossing November ever with $1.044 billion in domestic grosses behind the back-to-back years of 2012 and 2013. Leading the charge was Universal and Illumination's The Grinch, which in turn helped the studio take the monthly crown for the third time this year as Universal's yearly grosses are now pacing ahead of last year's with over $1.6 billion.

Universal's release of Illumination's The Grinch brought in $189.7 million over the course of the month, following its November 9 release, and has since delivered over $225 million at the domestic box office. The film currently ranks as the second highest grossing film based on a Dr. Seuss property behind 2000's release of the live-action adaptation of The Grinch starring Jim Carrey. That film's $260 million in domestic grosses, however, translates to over $439 million when adjusted for ticket price inflation.

Universal also saw their release of Halloween add another $21.2 million in November as its domestic gross is now just shy of $160 million, and, after a slow start, the studio's mid-month release of Green Book has held on well as of late thanks to positive word of mouth and awards season attention. Green Book brought in just over $11 million in November while its domestic cume now tops $20 million after expanding further early in the month of December.

Overall, Universal's November grosses topped $235 million from seven films in release, totaling nearly $1.65 billion for the year as of the end of the month, pacing +12.3% ahead of 2017. In fact, the studio's 2018 grosses as of the end of November are trailing only their grosses in 2015 when their domestic grosses topped $2.44 billion, the studio's largest domestic yearly performance ever. Looking ahead, the rest of the studio's 2018 slate is unlikely to be too much help with the $100 million production of Mortal Engines hoping to deliver a double digit debut this coming weekend while Welcome to Marwen appears as if it too won't likely have much of an overall impact on the studio's yearly gross.

Coming up just shy of $200 million for the month, Fox takes the runner-up position thanks largely to the monster performance of Bohemian Rhapsody, which delivered over $158 million over the month following its November 2 debut and has since gone on to gross over $175 million. The film's performance, however, is far more than domestic alone. Bohemian Rhapsody has already grossed nearly $600 million worldwide, making it one of the top ten worldwide releases in 2018. Otherwise, Fox's release of Widows brought in $30 million in November and is now pushing toward $40 million since releasing on November 16.

For Fox, with no new releases set to debut in December, outside of the PG-13 re-release of Deadpool 2 (better known as Once Upon a Deadpool), the rest of the year will mostly involve keeping an eye on the grosses for Bohemian Rhapsody while preparing for 2019. On a final note, while the studio's grosses did top $1 billion by the end of November, that figure ranks as Fox's lowest in the last five years.

Warner Bros. took home bronze in November, led by the $126.2 million from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald domestically, with grosses currently topping $146 million. That said, given the film's $200 million production budget and franchise expectations, the performance is a miss, so far falling well short of the first film's $234 million domestic performance, not to mention its $814 million worldwide performance compared to $571 million so far for Grindelwald after having already been released in all major overseas markets.

WB, however, isn't done yet. The studio's yearly grosses topped $1.61 billion domestically at the end of the month and if the $94.2 million debut of Aquaman in China this past weekend is any indication of what's to come, the future looks bright. Additionally, this weekend's release of Clint Eastwood's The Mule is also looking to be a solid performer over the last few weeks of the year. Overall, WB has fallen -18% behind their 2017 performance, which saw the studio top $2 billion domestically for only the second time in history.

Disney lands in fourth place for the month with just over $150 million from five films in release. Of the bunch two were new to theaters in November — one a hit, the other not-so-much. Beginning with the disappointing performance from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, the film brought in $50 million following its early November release and wasn't able to catch on with audiences to the point it could benefit much from the holiday season. Alternatively, the studio's Thanksgiving weekend release of Ralph Breaks the Internet delivered the second largest Thanksgiving opening ever. Ralph brought in just shy of $100 million over the month and has since topped $143 million domestically. It does appear, however, as if it may have to fight for family eyeballs over the last couple weeks of the year as Universal's The Grinch is holding on well and Sony is set to debut Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this weekend.

The year, however, isn't over for Disney just yet as the studio will release Mary Poppins Returns on December 19 with early expectations looking very promising for the title, which should not only end the year well for the studio, but play well into 2019.

Overall, Disney is having a monster 2018, and while it would be easy to look to the studio's 2019 slate and try and figure out how much the likes of Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Frozen 2 and, oh yeah, Star Wars: Episode IX will make, for now let's take a moment to recognize the $2.9 billion in domestic grosses Disney has taken in so far this year and the over $7 billion in worldwide grosses. As of right now, depending on how well Mary Poppins Returns performs, the studio's own $3 billion domestic yearly record (set in 2016) looks safe, but that mark was also achieved with 16 movies compared to what will be 13 for the studio in 2018.

A couple of other notable highlights from November include MGM's release of Creed II as the studio has stepped back into the distribution game for the first time since 2010. After Warner Bros. handled worldwide distribution of Creed back in 2015 to the tune of $109.7 million domestically and $173.6 million worldwide, MGM took domestic duties with the sequel and generated $69.2 million in November with the film currently on its way to grossing well over $100 million.

It's also worth mentioning that Sony is having their best year since 2014 and has already generated more than they did in all of 2017, which served as the first time since 2014 the studio grossed over $1 billion in domestic grosses. As of the end of November, the studio has brought in over $1.12 billion domestically and they still have this weekend's release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the Christmas Day release of the comedy Holmes and Watson left to hit theaters.

Overall, November calendar grosses totaled $1.044 billion, ranking as the third largest November of all-time. For the year, 2018 has already grossed $10.77 billion in domestic box office ticket sales, pacing almost $600 million ahead of 2016's record-breaking performance, which saw the domestic box office top $11.37 billion, putting 2018 on a path to become not only the fourth straight year to see domestic ticket sales top $11 billion, but to become the highest grossing year of all-time domestically.

Finally, a list of selected films that closed out their domestic runs in November is featured below, in descending order by cumulative gross.

For a complete look at November's box office results, find calendar grosses here and grosses for all of the month's new releases here.

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