Thanksgiving week in the U.S. brought yet another historic win to Disney, with a huge $84 million five-day opening for Ralph Breaks the Internet. After having notched a loss at the beginning of the month with Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which even now sits at $128 million against a pre-advertising budget of about the same amount, Disney Animation is back in the saddle.
Following up on 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, a fairy tale for kids and the new crop of gen-x moms and dads who grew up glued to Atari, PlayStation, and Nintendo controllers, Ralph Breaks the Internet catapults the John C. Reilly voiced hero into the Internet age. When an arcade complex starts shutting down the machines where he and his friends have lived for decades, Ralph leads an exodus of classic video game characters into the wild world of the world wide web, with all its requisite cat memes and spam-bots (including one played by Bill Hader). Gal Gadot, Jane Lynch, Taraji P. Henson, and Alfred Molina join as an assortment of online miscreants trying to survive in the digital world.
Ralph took another $41.5 million from 18 overseas territories, including $19.5 million in a China launch that put it roughly on par with Incredibles 2‘s Middle Kingdom start. Other notables came from Mexico where $6.3 million made it the studio’s best animated debut yet, $5.7 million in Russia, and a tidy $1.4 million in the Philippines. Showings start next week in the U.K. and Ireland, followed by a Japan release near the end of December and a string of major European openings in early January.
Staying global, and as big as its footprint was, Ralph Breaks the Internet wasn’t the top player this frame. That title went to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as it finished its second consecutive international number one frame with $113.3 million. After spending the better half of a decade trying to replace their lost fountain of Wizarding gold, it looks like Warner Brothers has opted to just keep making Harry Potter movies, without Harry Potter. Grindelwald now sits at $439.7 million global, while 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them closed its run at $814 million. Like any self-respecting series, this one doesn’t have an end in sight. J.K. Rowling is reported to be typing away at another story that will hit theaters in 2020, with more sure to come. Bohemian Rhapsody keeps attracting old and new Queen fans as its closing in on $500 million globally. A Star is Born, another music-themed film, crossed the $350 million global mark.
Back on the domestic front, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise is still alive and well. MGM’s Creed II, the eighth installment of the boxing series, notched $55 million in its home holiday frame debut. Taking great pains not to stray from tradition Rocky’s young prodigy and the son of his first foe, Apollo Creed, faces off against the son of his second nemesis, Rocky IV‘s Ivan Drago. Michael B. Jordan returns as Adonis Creed, while Romanian-German fitness model and purported retired boxer Florian Munteanu plays Drago Jr. Creed II moves into the U.K. at the end of the month with other major European releases to come. China has not been scheduled at this point.
Next week, U.S. theatergoers will have Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk being added to their marquees, as studios take a breather and free up space for the year’s final big films coming later in December.