After earning the lowest critical reception of any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date, “Eternals” has opened in theaters across the country. Even with such lack of critical acclaim, the film grossed around $71 million in its domestic opening weekend. This is the fifth lowest opening weekend for an MCU film, but the fourth highest opening weekend of the pandemic box office. I severely over-predicted this film, thinking it would outgross the opening weekend of “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which it missed by about $20 million.
As we explained with “Shang-Chi,” “Dune,” and “No Time to Die,” profit is going to be tough to come by for these $150+ million budget pictures. With a $200 million budget, “Eternals” likely needs to gross around $680 million worldwide (factoring in marketing and distribution costs) to break even. With a $161 million worldwide opening, that gross is going to be difficult to come by, unless it has truly unworldly legs. To make matters worse, “Eternals” earned a disappointing “B” CinemaScore, a metric of audience reaction, which is one of the lowest an MCU movie has ever received. This does not bode well for the legs of this film, as a long box-office run is predicated on audience reception. Combined with the tempered pandemic box office, “Eternals” likely will finish around $175 million domestically.
In second place this weekend is “Dune” which dropped another 50% to gross just about $7.6 million. This is another disappointing drop for the sci-fi flick, though as explained in our previous columns, the box office for “Dune” is being limited by its dual-release on HBO Max. By losing theater-going customers to the streaming service, “Dune” is obviously not earning as much revenue if it was a purely theatrical release.
Coming in third domestically this past weekend is the Bond finale “No Time to Die.” The film quite literally has no time to die at the box office, as it dropped only 20%. Grossing just south of $6.2 million, the film has reached $143 million domestically. With these great holds week to week, I’d be shocked if Bond doesn’t reach $160 million by the end of its run. With the way “Dune” keeps dropping, I think it’s quite likely “No Time to Die” outgrosses it in the coming weekend.
In third and fourth place are the aforementioned “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and “Ron’s Gone Wrong” who collected $4.5 million and $3.6 million, respectively, this weekend. “Venom” now sits at $197 million domestically and will likely clear $200 million by next weekend. The animated film “Ron’s Gone Wrong” dropped below 4% this weekend, which is an incredible hold. This movie might continue to populate the bottom of the chart for some time, if it continues to post single digit drops.
Next weekend comes the release of the long-awaited live-action adaptation “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” This movie looks to be a hit with family audiences, which have been largely unserviced the past months or two, unless you include superhero fare in that audience group. I expect a $10 -12 million gross for this pup-starring picture.
We will see next weekend if the large, scarlet canine can end the reign of “Eternals” though that is a tall task. That being said, “Clifford” is quite the big dog.