This uncluttered post-Thanksgiving frame left the US box office without a single major wide release, but several returning titles and expanding specialty films made milestones of their own. First place went to Disney/Pixar’s Coco, which once again sapped some super powers away from Justice League and finished its second weekend with $26.1 million in the US. A two-week sprint to $108 million is strong enough for this animated feature but Coco’s real magic is happening overseas. Sales in Mexico reached an astounding $53 million, making it the third biggest film in the country’s history, but with its being set in Mexico and featuring the voice of some of its biggest stars this was never outside of the realm of reasonable possibilities.
What has defied all expectations is Coco’s performance in China, a market where Pixar films have traditionally struggled to gain traction. After an already strong $17.8 million debut last weekend this Dia de los Muertos adventure leaped up a massive 148% in its second frame, finishing the week with $43.8 million. Its Middle Kingdom cume of $75.6 million is the highest ever for Pixar. Hopeful whispers about matching Zootopia’s record setting success are already moving through the halls of the Bay Area studio. China’s best selling animated import of all time also scored a big second weekend jump, and ultimately went on to make $235.5 million in the country. Global sales for Coco are now at $280 million, and counting.
Back in the US Justice League took $16.5 million in its third frame after a 60% drop. Overseas Warner Bros.’ super hero ensemble movie made $35.7 million, with highlights coming from Brazil, where it reached a locally big $31.2 million, making it the country’s fifth biggest title of 2017. China, it’s biggest foreign market, reached $98.5 million. Global sales now are at $567.4 million, giving Warner’s real hope of finally making some real money from their major investment in this project.
Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, this frames third-placed global finisher, made a combined $29.8 million from its 69 worldwide markets. New territory Italy was worth $3.9 million, and a strong start in Indonesia netted $1.9 million. Fox’s flic is now up to $237 million worldwide.
Back in the US awards hopeful The Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri scored a strong $4.4 million from a semi-wide expansion to 614 theatres. This black comedy from Fox Searchlight is already 70% ahead of their 2014 best picture winner Birdman at this point in its release.
A24’s fellow critical favorite Lady Bird meanwhile added 403 theatres, taking its total screens to 1,430. It earned $4.54 million for its trouble and reached a domestic cume of $17 million.
Two new releases also made very strong starts this weekend. Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, a fantasy adventure about love and oppression in the Mexican director’s signature super-natural style, opened to $166.8K in two theatres, leaving it with a satisfying $83.4K average. A24’s The Disaster Artist, a James Franco directed and headlined comedy about the making of cult hit The Room and its perplexing creator Tommy Wisseau, started very well with $1.22 million from 19 theatres. It’s one of only six movies to have made more than a $60K average from a start in over ten theatres.