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411 Box Office Report: Renaissance: A Beyonce Film Lands At #1 With $21 Million

December 3, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Renaissance: A Film By Beyonce Image Credit: AMC Theaters

Beyonce ruled the box office this weekend as Renaissance: A Beyonce Film claimed the top spot. The concert film brought in $21 million for the weekend, right about at expectations going into the weekend. That’s a very solid start and helped lift what is traditionally a dead weekend to its best overall numbers in five years.

Sure, Renaissance isn’t anywhere near to the $92.8 million that Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour opened to back in October. But it was also never expected to come close. Remember that concerts films are traditionally not blockbusters, and this still marks one of the best openings for the genre ever behind only The Eras Tour, 2008’s Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour ($31.1 million), and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never from 2011 ($29.5 million).

By any realistic measure this is a good opening for the film, which was announced at the height of buzz around The Eras Tour. Like that film, this is being released through AMC Theaters and is being sold at premium prices. Most felt going into the weekend that it would open in the high teens to $20 million range, so it’s just above expectations. That’s thanks to a fantastic amount of critical buzz with a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes aggregated critic score, an A+ CinemaScore and a 100% RT audience rating.

Renaissance has also added $6.4 million overseas to bring its worldwide start total to $27.4 million. Like most concert films, this should be front-loaded; the genre is very fan-driven, and they tend to rush out at the first opportunity to check it out. For example, The Eras Tour has a 1.93 multiple of its opening weekend and even Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus ended up at a 2.1 back when films tended toward longer theater runs. Renaissance could perform a bit better with its run taking place during the holiday frame, though it’s likely to end its run somewhere in the $45 million to $50 million range which is not a bad result at all. It’s proven that while concert films aren’t going to compete with the true blockbusters, they are once again a very viable genre at the box office.

Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes slipped to #2 behind Queen Bey in its third weekend, but still held on well. The Hunger Games prequel was down 50% to $14.5 million. That brings its totals to $121.2 million domestically and $243.9 million worldwide, strong numbers against a $100 million production budget plus marketing. The film is having a decent enough run and looks likely to close out in the $160 million range, more than enough to make future entries likely.

Godzilla Minus One roared in its first domestic weekend, taking in $11 million. That’s the highest gross for an international film this year, and easily the highest start for a non-Hollywood Godzilla film in the franchise’s almost 70-year history. The previous high for the Toho-produced Japanese films in the franchise was Godzilla 2000 which started with $4.4 million in August of…well, 2000.

Like Renaissance, Godzilla Minus One slightly overperformed expectations that had it topping out at $10 million. And also like the Beyonce film, that overperformance can be chalked up to a slavishly dedicated fanbase, strong critical buzz, and word of mouth. The film is currently rocking a 97% RT aggregated score, a 98% RT audience rating and an A CinemaScore, all great indicators of what was driving audiences to the theaters to see this one.

Another comparison between Godzilla and Beyonce is their likely trajectory from here. The Toho Godzilla films are obviously more niche than Legendary’s big-budget versions, and that means it’s likely to have a bigger drop than we might otherwise expect. But Toho isn’t worried because this $15 million-budgeted film is already profitable thanks to $23 million overseas for a $34 million worldwide gross. Domestically it should be able to make it to around $25 million or so.

Trolls Band Together was down 57% in its third weekend to gross $7.6 million. The animated threequel has brought in $74.8 million domestically and $160.6 million worldwide, keeping it on the path to profit against a budget of $95 million (plus marketing). It’s looking at a final stateside gross of around $100 million or so in the US.

While there’s a lot of good news for films atop the box office, things get dicey from here. That starts with Disney’s Wish, which suffered a precipitous fall in its second weekend. The animated flick was down 62% to $7.4 million, not the drop you want for a film that underperformed in its first weekend. We can chalk that up to the lower than typical word of mouth and the middling critical reaction failing to bring in those who weren’t already interested.

Thus far, Wish has grossed $42 million domestically and $81.6 million worldwide, which are awful numbers against a $200 million budget. This one is going to be a money loser and may be able to make it to $65 million domestically, better than last year’s Strange World but still a bomb by any measure.

Ridley Scott’s Napoleon also fell hard as it fell 65% in its second weekend to $7.1 million. That’s a rough second weekend, but a bit more forgivable than Wish because unlike that film, Napoleon overperformed in its opening weekend and is faring better overseas.

None of that is to suggest that the historical biopic is heading for a comfortable profit margin; indeed, this film is also looking to be a money loser against a $200 million production budget. But it has more of a cushion and like Killers of the Flower Moon before it, Apple Original Films can take a loss on it in exchange for having a prestige film that boosts their reputation and provides a nice exclusive film for Apple TV+ when it’s time for streaming. As it stands, Napoleon has $45.7 million domestically and $136.6 million worldwide and should close out around $70 million to $75 million.

Coming in at #7 was the Indian action film Animal. The Telugu-language film scored $6.1 million, repping another Bollywood success in cracking open the US marketplace. It’s the second-biggest opening for such a film of all time, behind only Pathaan’s $6.9 million start back in January, and

Perhaps more notable is that where films like RRR and Pathaan found success with strong critical support, Animal is a critic-proof film. The movie has a RT aggregated score of just 38%, but audiences appreciate it with an okay 86% audience score. Animal should be able to make it to around $15 million in the US and will be profitable on worldwide grosses.

Angel Studios found another box office performer as the faith-based film The Shift started with $4.4 million. The film, which adapts the Book of Job into a science fiction story, is co-financed through Pure Flix and marks that studio’s best start since God’s Not Dead 2 grossed $7.6 million in 2016. It is, however, Angel Studios’ lowest start yet, below the $5.1 million start of the October’s documentary After Death.

Critics aren’t loving The Shift at a 40% RT aggregated score, and even the target audience is not as keen on this as they usually are with an 85% RT audience rating and a B+ CinemaScore. (It’s rare to find a faith-based film with a CinemaScore lower than an A). This one should slip quickly off the charts and should finish with around $8 million to $9 million, meaning it will wait until home video to make a profit against its $6.4 million budget.

John Woo’s Hollywood return was (forgive the pun) a quiet one, as Silent Night started with $3 million. That is on the low end of expectations for this Joel Kinnaman-starring action film. The gimmicky film (it has no dialogue) was always going to be a tough sell, and the 59% critic aggregated RT score didn’t do much to fix that issue. Neither did word of mouth, which resulted in a sketchy C CinemaScore. Silent Night is looking likely to close out below $10 million; no word on its budget.

Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving saw an expected hefty fall following the holiday weekend as it dropped 63% to $2.6 million. But that’s not a worry for Sony, as it has already become profitable with $28.4 million domestically and $36.8 million worldwide against a $10 million budget. It should make it to around $35 million domestically and a sequel has been announced for 2025.

Next weekend will likely see Beyonce and Hunger Games battle for the top spot once again as the new releases are going to be niche; Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron and Neon’s psychological thriller Eileen from William Oldroyd. Neither are likely to come near double digits for the weekend.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Renaissance: A Film By Beyonce – $21 million ($21 million total, $27.4 million WW)
2. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – $14.5 million ($121.2 million total, $243.9 million WW)
3. Godzilla Minus One – $11 million ($11 million total, $34 million WW)
4. Trolls Band Together – $7.6 million ($74.8 million total, $160.6 million WW)
5. Wish – $7.4 million ($42 million total, $81.6 million WW)
6. Napoleon – $7.1 million ($45.7 million total, $136.6 million WW)
7. Animal – $6.1 million ($6.1 million total, $6.1 million WW)
8. The Shift – $4.4 million ($4.4 million total, $4.4 million WW)
9. Silent Night – $3 million ($3 million total, $3 million WW)
10. Thanksgiving – $2.6 million ($28.4 million total, $36.8 million WW)