Aquaman Still The Big Man At The B.O. With $30M+; Escape Room Locking Up $17M+

3rd Update, Friday 11:19 PM: Even though its a quiet weekend at the box office after the mad holiday rush between Christmas and New Years Day, studios savor the first frame of the year given its great holdover business. Kids are still off from school and heading to the movies, and another big plus: There isnt a major snow storm freezing out the Northeast.

Currently total ticket sales for the weekend are around $140M, -26% from the final weekend of 2018. That weekend-to-weekend percent slide is on par with the first frame of 2017 vs. the last weekend of 2016, but a tad steeper than the onset of 2018 vs. the finale of 2017 at -15%. Last year at this time Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Star Wars The Last Jedi drove weekends ticket sales to $165.5M. Jumanji 2 minted a third weekend of $37.2M, followed by Universal/Blumhouses Insidious: The Last Key with $29.5M (which was also made by Escape Room filmmaker Adam Robitel) and then Last Jedis fourth weekend of $23.7M.

Warner Bros.

This year, Warner Bros. third weekend of Aquaman is the only title grossing north of $20M with an estimated $30.3M, -42% for a running total by Sunday of $259.3M. Next weekends trio of wide entries –STXs The Upside ($8M-$10M estimated opening), Sonys A Dogs Way Home ($7M-$12M) and Entertainment Studios Replicas ($4M-$7M estimated opening)– arent expected to inflict any damage, so its safe to say that Aquaman will reign for a fourth weekend. The last time Warners held a film for four weeks straight was 2008s The Dark Knight. Aquamans will easily grasp $900M by Sunday and if he doesnt lose too many screens abroad, a $1 billion WW final isnt out of the question.

As of right now, Columbia Pictures Escape Room has bragging rights for 2nd place with $17.3M, however if Saturday truly drops more than 15% from Fridays (+previews) $7.7M, then Disneys Mary Poppins Returns, currently with a third weekend of $16.9M, will hold 2nd for her third weekend in a row. The Rob Marshall-directed musical is nominated for four Golden Globes on Sunday including best musical/comedy.

Rivals agree: Escape Room is a great result for a PG-13 horror pic that reportedly carries a $9M production cost. Horror easily plays to the under 25 set during the first weekend of the year. A great example of how powerful genre can be at this time of year was Paramounts The Devil Inside back in 2012: The pic opened to No. 1 with $33.7M off a rare F CinemaScore.

Social Media metrics group RelishMix wasnt impressed with the online reach for Escape Room: Few in the pics cast have social media pull, the pic has a moderate social media universe near 58M from Facebook, YouTube views, Instagram and Twitter, the video viral rate is low at 9:1 (short of the 13:1 average for a horror film). Still something is working here, and RelishMix pegs it to the marketing materials: “A lot of horror fans are looking at the trailers and social materials for the film and sharing their own experiences with escape rooms. Some of these fans are really excited to see the movie based on their love of the experience and how the movie resonates with them. And, more casual horror fans like the cast and Saw-like elements theyre seeing.” CinemaScore is a B for Escape Room which is better than Screen Gems R-rated The Possession of Hannah Grace which opened during the sluggish first weekend of December. A CinemaScores are rare for horror pics, so a B is wonderful.

With Golden Globes on Sunday, heres how some of the contenders are looking: There is strong buzz that Universal/Participant/DreamWorks Green Book could win best comedy. We hear that theres a good chance that the pic will increase its number of screens leading into Oscars. Right now, on 566 in weekend 8, its making $1.76M, -7% for a total of $35.1M.

Matt Kennedy / Annapurna Pictures

Annapurnas Vice, which leads at the Golden Globes with six noms, is holding up quite well for a Vice Presidential biopic that has divided some audiences and critics, -29% in weekend 2 with $5.5M for a 13-day total of $29.5M. Yes, we know, the movie cost a steep $60M before P&A. But awards season isnt over yet.

Weve also heard buzz that 20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films Bohemian Rhapsody could upset with a Best Drama win (yes, the HFPA loves the pic that much). Fox jumped the number of screens by 199 to 1,080 in weekend 10, and right now the movie is hanging out in 11th place with $2.37M, +1% and a running total of $193.6M. The movie doesnt hit DVD until Feb. 12.

Annapurnas If Beale Street Could Talk with three Golden Globe noms for Best Drama, supporting actress Regina King, and director Barry Jenkins, moved from 65 theaters to 335 in weekend 4 seeing a 127% surge with $1.7M and a running total by Sunday of $4.3M. The Megan Ellison studio is also seeing its Nicole Kidman L.A. cop movie Destroyer, which is nominated for Best Actress Drama at the Globes, grossing $110K from six theaters (+3) for a 13-day of $260K.

thumb rank film dis. screens (chg) friday weekend b.o. total wk
1 Aquaman WB 4,184 (+59) $9.1M (-46%) $30.3M (-42%) $259.3M 3
2 Escape Room Sony 2,717 $7.7M $17.3M $17.3M 1
3 Mary Poppins Returns Dis 4,090 $5.1M (-51%) $16.9M (-40%) $139.8M 3
4 …Spider-Verse Sony 3,419 (-394) $3.8M (-44%) $12.7M (-32%) $133.6M 4
5 Bumblebee Par 3,597 (+47) $3.8M (-41%) $12.6M (-40%) $96.9M 3
6 The Mule WB/Bron 3,212 (+425) $2.8M (-30%) $8.8M (-28%) $80.8M 4
7 Vice ANNP 2,534 (+92) $1.7M (-36%) $5.5M (-29%) $29.5M 2
8 Second Act STX 2,523 (-84) $1.5M (-37%) $5M (-31%) $33M 3
9 Ralph Breaks Dis 2,050 (-293) $1.5M (-38%) $4.8M (-28%) $187.3M 7
10 Holmes & Watson Sony 2,780 (+4) $1M (-60%) $3.3M (-55%) $28.3M 2

2nd Update, Friday Midday: With schools still off for the holiday break, the studios can rely on continued traffic and this weekend at this point in time were seeing Warner Bros. Aquaman at $26.2M, -50% after a third Friday of $8M, with a running total of $255.2M. The DC superhero has already beat the lifetime U.S./Canada $229M take and global haul of Justice League and will see a $300M stateside tally sometime after MLK. But given Aquamans momentum here, and seeing how Warners pushed Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad past the three-century mark, you better believe theyre going to get this Jason Momoa film past that threshold. Soon enough, hell cross $900M WW by end of this weekend.

Escape Room

Coming off of a great Thursday night, Sonys horror thriller Escape Room in industry estimate is looking at a $15.8M opening after a $6.8M Friday that includes yesterdays $2.3M. That said, many are projecting that the Adam Robitel movie files third behind Disneys Mary Poppins Returns which is eyeing a third session of $18.4M, -35% for a running total of $141.3M, which would be 84% ahead of the running total of The Greatest Showman at the same point in time. Escape Room is at 50% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sonys Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is looking at an industry estimated $12.2M fourth frame, -35% for a running total by Sunday of $133M. Paramounts third weekend of Bumblebee is just below with $12M, -43% for a running total by Sunday of $96.3M. Warner Bros. The Mule is seeing $7.5M in weekend 4, with a running total of $79.5M. It would be great if WB makes this Clint Eastwoods fifth title as an actor, sixth title as a director to cross $100M. Thats quite conceivable. Annapurnas six-time Golden Globe nominee Vice is looking at a second weekend of $5.2M, -32%, for a running tally by Sunday of $29.2M.

1st Update, Friday 8:15AM: Columbia Pictures PG-13 thriller Escape Room, the only wide entry this weekend and for the new year, fired up $2.3 million at 2,386 locations Thursday from showtimes starting at 4 PM. While moviegoers will continue to flock to holiday holdovers like Warner Bros/DCs Aquaman, which is poised to post between $25M-$32M in its third weekend, horror scares up young females under 25.

Escape Rooms money last night is higher than the $1.98M that Universal/Blumhouses fourthquel Insidious: The Last Key made a year ago in Thursday night previews. Last Key went on to make a massive $29.5M opening, and finaled at $67.5M off a $10M budget before P&A. Adam Robitel directed both Escape Room and Last Key.

Warner Bros.

Tracking had Escape Room between $10M-$14M, and last nights figure indicates a FSS toward the higher end of that range. The movie reportedly cost Sony around $9M, and when it comes to young genre movies, the Culver City studio has been aces in the digital marketing realm.

Aquaman drew $6.2M yesterday, off 16% from Wednesday, and in two weeks has come very close to beating the lifetime domestic cume of Justice League ($229.02M) with $229.017M, a marvelous result.

Disneys Mary Poppins Returns is eyeing a third weekend of $21M after a $3.95M Thursday, down 11%, for a running total of $122.95M.

Paramounts Bumblebee, Sonys Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Escape Room will be battling for third with mid-teen takes.

Spider-Verse grossed $3.1M on Thursday, off 5%. Anecdotally, to give you an idea of how much this animated film speaks to crowds, the Wednesday night 7:20 PM 400-seat show at the Regal Valencia outside Los Angeles was filled to the brim, with audiences applauding after the film finished; a majority of the auditorium stayed and sat through the credits. Through three weeks, Spider-Verse counts $120.9M. Bumblebee took in an estimated $2.6M yesterday for a two-week total of $84.35M.

Warner Bros The Mule ended its third weeks with $72M and is looking at a fourth weekend of $9M, -26%. The Clint Eastwood movie could very well walk its way to $100M.

Annapurnas Vice is looking at a second weekend of $6M, -22%. Through 10 days the Adam McKay-directed movie counts $24M after a $981,000 Thursday, -5%. The Dick Cheney movie later today will eclipse the $25.5M lifetime domestic total of Oliver Stones 2008 title W., about President George W. Bush.

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