A new year is in motion and now that the holidays and the rush of end-of-the-year countdowns are over it’s time to get back to some box office recaps. As usually the month of January started off slow with its first weekend dominated by holdovers while a horror reboot attempted to benefit from the lack of competition. With a busy weekend on the way 2019’s late bloomers hoped to grind one more strong weekend from cinemagoers so let’s see who came out on top in the first Box Office Breakdown of 2020.
Earning its third straight weekend win in a row “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” topped the weekend with a very respectable $33.7 million weekend pushing it to over $450 million domestically after 17 days. The $50.5 million it made internationally pushes the global earnings to $918.8 million for the final entry in the sequel trilogy of Disney’s “Star Wars” series meaning it will likely become the seventh movie from Disney released in 2019 to gross over a billion dollars. It wasn’t the only massive holdover success of the weekend for Disney though as one of those billion-dollar earners, “Frozen II” which finished the weekend fourth domestically, set a record by reaching $1.325 billion worldwide. This makes it the highest grossing animated film in history globally topping its predecessor and “Incredibles 2”, both also owned by Disney. The other five Disney films to gross over a billion dollars worldwide in 2019 consisted of “Aladdin” ($1.05 billion), “Toy Story 4” ($1.07 billion), “Captain Marvel” ($1.12 billion), “The Lion King” ($1.6 billion), and “Avengers: Endgame” which became the highest grossing film ever with $2.797 billion dollars. Overall the seven films under Disney’s ownership made up the bulk of the top ten highest grossing films of 2019 with “Hobbs & Shaw”, “Joker” and “Spider-Man: Far from Home” filling in the rest.
Getting back to this weekend’s chart though, the rest of the top five were owned by Sony who saw two strong carryovers and a new film place second, third and fifth respectively. “Jumanji: The Next Level” added $26.5 million to its domestic total which now sits at $236.2 million, pacing behind the first film but showing great staying power as its predecessor did at this time in 2018. The film has succeeded well overseas too with its global tally sitting at $610 million to date. Sony’s award-season contender “Little Women” saw a small 19% drop in its second weekend landing in third. The Greta Gerwig directed seventh adaptation of the legendary book of the same name carried $13.57 million out of the weekend bringing its domestic numbers to $60 million while its overseas numbers reached $20.4 million after two weekends. The third Sony film rounding out the top five was the only new entry in the top ten for the weekend, “The Grudge”. A soft-sequel and reboot to the 2000s horror series of the same name, “The Grudge” survived decimation from critics to earn $11.3 million, ahead of pre-weekend expectations. It opened in 29 markets internationally where it earned $5.8 million. You can read my review of the reboot by clicking here.
Finally, outside the top five we saw all holdovers. The animated ‘Spies in Disguise” fell one spot to sixth with a $10.3 million second weekend bringing its domestic earnings to over $47 million. “Knives Out” held strong with a measly 9.7% drop earning it $8.9 million in its sixth weekend bringing its numbers over $130 million domestically. “Uncut Gems”, “Bombshell” and “Cats” rounded out the top ten while “Richard Jewell” was the sole exile from the top ten thanks to “The Grudge’s” debut.
This upcoming second weekend of January is going to be stacked with one film in particular leading the way: the now-Golden Globe winning film for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director, “1917”. Released in only five theaters in late 2019 to qualify for the awards, the Universal-released World War I epic will gets its true release this weekend and has made waves over the past few weeks with many calling it a masterpiece. Its Golden Globe wins should help spur interest giving it a good shot to earn a great first weekend in wide release. Also competing for attention will be Fox’s new horror thriller “Underwater”, Paramount’s “Like a Boss” and the expansion of Warner Bros. “Just Mercy”. This means we’ll see new wide releases from four of the big five studios in the second weekend of 2020 if you count Fox as a Walt Disney property. Should be fun to see how it all plays out. Until then…