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New movies released this Christmas as ‘Aquaman’ sequel tops holiday weekend box office

A look at your new movie options this holiday season

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” led a host of new releases at the box office the weekend before Christmas Monday. The sequel to the superhero from DC and Warner Bros. starring Jason Momoa grossed an estimated $28.1 million in its first three days of release at 3,706 locations in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. By Monday, domestic ticket sales are expected to reach about $40 million.

Despite numerous new offerings – including the animated family film “Migration”, the R-rated romantic comedy “Anyone But You”, the wrestling family tragedy “The Iron Claw” and a ghostly tearjerker in “All of Us Strangers” – it will go down as a quieter countdown before the box office holidays.

It’s never great for Hollywood or movie theaters when Christmas Eve falls on a prime weekend day, but the last time Christmas was on a Monday, in 2017, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” dominated the charts over four days with his film’s $71.5 million. second weekend.

On Christmas Day, which often brings large crowds back to theaters, they will be joined by several highly anticipated new films.

These include the big-budget musical adaptation of “The Color Purple”, starring Fantasia Barrino Taylor, Taraji P. HensonDanielle Brooks, Colman Domingo and Corey Hawkins. Oprah Winfreywho played Sofia in the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel, is a producer.

Fantasia Barrino Taylor explains why she took on the role of Celie in ‘The Color Purple’

In an interview with CBS News’ “Sunday Morning” Henson described the film’s message: “As long as you have a beat in your heart, it’s time to make your wildest dreams come true.”

“It reminds me how powerful we are as women when we stick together. And that just doesn’t mean we’re chasing you men!” Henson laughs. “If we stay together, you’ll be taken care of. Relax! You know, men get nervous. Women and girls stay together! You will benefit from it, believe me.

Taraji P. Henson on “The Color Purple”

Michael Mann’s Ferrari racing film, starring Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz and Shailene Woodley, will also arrive at Christmas; And George Clooneythe adaptation of the rowing drama “The Boys in the Boat”, based on the bestselling book by Daniel James Brown who recounted the underdog journey of the American rowers at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

All should benefit from a boost between Christmas and New Year, a traditionally lucrative period for cinemas.

But none will compare to some of the biggest holiday winners, like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Avatar” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It was not lost on social media that this was the weekend Patty Jenkins’ Star Wars movie “Rogue Squadron” was supposed to be released.

“Seven openings in four days is unusual,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is estimated to have cost around $200 million to produce, not including marketing and promotion costs. Including international estimates of $80 million through Monday, “Aquaman” is headed for a $120 million worldwide debut.

Actor Jason Momoa holds a trident during an event to celebrate his new film, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”, in London, December 12, 2023.

Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

The first film grossed $67.8 million in 2018 and grossed nearly $1.2 billion worldwide. Dergarabedian noted that the first film also made more than 70% of its box office internationally.

The opening of “Aquaman” ends a year of awkward transition for DC superhero films, full of box office disappointments, including “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash” and ” Blue Beetle”, as the studio gradually abandons this list to accommodate James Gunn’s vision for the future. “Aquaman 2” was the last “survival” of the previous administration.

His studio, Warner Bros., also has the No. 2 movie of the weekend, “Wonka,” and one of the big Christmas releases, “The Color Purple,” a buffet of big films that theaters sorely needed – especially without new features. film from the Walt Disney Company or Paramount. By Monday, Warner Bros. will probably have three places in the top five.

“Warners has something for everyone,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s head of domestic distribution. “With plenty of vacation time to see all three.”

“Wonka,” in its second weekend, earned an estimated $17.7 million over the weekend and $26.1 million including Monday, bringing its total domestic earnings to 83, 6 million dollars.

Third place went to Illumination and Universal’s “Migration,” a PG-rated animated adventure about a family of mallards traveling south. Voice actors include Kumail Najiani, Elizabeth Banks and Awkwafina. It has grossed approximately $12.3 million from 3,761 locations in North America through Sunday, which is expected to reach $17.1 million by the end of Monday. Its worldwide total through Sunday stands at about $34.3 million, and it could soar with out-of-school kids.

A still from the animated film “Migration”, about a family of birds flying south for the winter.

Lighting entertainment and universal images via AP

“‘Migration’ arrived in theaters with some really exciting audience response, indicating that we think it will not only be a fantastic release over the holidays, but also next year,” said Jim Orr, head of Universal’s national distribution.

Aside from Disney’s re-releases of some of its Pixar titles earlier this year, there will be no new direct competition until the release of “Kung Fu Panda 4” on March 8.

Weekend box office receipts fell significantly further down the list, with romantic comedy “Anyone But You” in fourth place with an estimated $6.2 million for its first three days, and which is expected to reach $9 million including Monday. Directed by Will Gluck, the film, loosely inspired by “Much Ado About Nothing”, sharply divided critics. Audiences gave it a CinemaScore B+.

In fifth place is the Telugu-language action film “Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire”, which grossed $5.5 million from just 802 theaters. The top 10 included another Indian film, Hindi-language “Dunki,” and two Japanese films, “Godzilla Minus One” and “The Boy and the Heron.”

A24’s “The Iron Claw,” about the tragedy-stricken Von Erich wrestling family, aired on 2,774 screens, riding a wave of good reviews praising Zac Efron’s lead performance.

“No matter where the box office is on the 31st, whether it hits $9 billion or close to it, it’s just a boom time for moviegoers,” Dergarabedian said. “The top 10 reads like the greatest hits of all types of cinema.”

Below is a list of estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures, including Christmas Day, will be released on Tuesday.

1. “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” $28.1 million.
2. “Wonka,” $17.7 million.
3. “Migrations”, $12.3 million.
4. “Anyone But You,” $6.2 million.
5. “Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire”, $5.5 million.
6. “The Iron Claw”, $5.1 million.
7. “The Hunger Games: The Ballard of Songbirds and Serpents,” $3.2 million
8. “The Boy and the Heron,” $3.2 million.
9. “Godzilla Minus One,” $2.7 million.
10. “Dunki,” $2.7 million.

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