Box Office: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Opens to Heavenly $44M

Box Office: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Opens to Heavenly $44M

BYPAMELA MCCLINTOCK | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren for CNT #Entertainment

The direct sequel to the 1984 original ‘Ghostbusters’ is directed by Jason Reitman, son of franchise creator Ivan Reitman. ‘King Richard’ opens to a subdued $5.7 million.

Ghostbusters: Afterlifehas restored the luster to Sony’s supernatural franchise.

The holiday tentpole easily topped the weekend chart with a better-than-expected $44 million from 4,315 theaters at the North Americanbox officeafter succeeding in luring both families and males, the most avid moviegoers in the pandemic era.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife‘s performance is a big win for Sony, which was haunted by its failure to revive the franchise with the 2016 female-skewingGhostbusters. The studio is counting on big business throughout Thanksgiving week and next weekend.

Overseas,Afterlifestarted off with $16 million from 31 markets for a worldwide launch of $60 million.

The new film is directed byJason Reitmanand is a sequel to the iconic 1984 movieGhostbusters, which was directed by his dad,Ivan Reitman.

On Saturday, over 33 percent of the audience saw the movie before 4 p.m., indicating a strong turnout among and parents and their kids (children over 5-years-old can now be vaccinated), according to analytics firm EntTelligence.

And, according to PostTrak, nearly 50 percent of the audience was between the ages of 25 and 44, while 57 percent of ticket buyers were male.

Ghostbusters: AfterlifestarsCarrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Annie Potts andPaul Rudd, and follows what happens when a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town and begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. The film earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences.

The weekend’s other new offerings included the acclaimed biopicKing Richard, starringWill Smithas Richard Williams, the father of tennis icons Serena andVenus Williams.

King Richardopened in fourth place with a decidedly disappointing $5.7 million from 3,302 theaters, underscoring the ongoing difficulty adult dramas face when opening nationwide in the pandemic era, and particularly those dramas opening day-and-date in the home (King Richardis available on HBO Max). Heading into the weekend, Warner Bros. was hoping for $7 million to $10 million.

Warners is counting on an A CinemaScore and strong reviews to propel the film throughout the year-end holidays and awards season. The movie is expected to be a strong Oscar contender, with Smith considered a front-runner in the best actor race. “It’s an extraordinary movie with extraordinary critical and audience reactions. It has to be about the play over the next few months,” says Warners domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein, noting that Oscar winnerGreen Bookopened to $7.5 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2019, including $5.5 million for the three-day weekend.

King Richardplayed to an ethnically diverse audience, with Black viewers making up 28 percent of ticket buyers and Caucasians, 51 percent, according to PostTrak. More than 40 percent of the audience was over the age of 45. Overseas, it opened in the U.K., Russia and 28 smaller markets, grossing $2.5 million for $8.2 million globally.

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green from a script by Zach Baylin,King Richardalso stars Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal.

At the specialty box office, A24’sC’mon, C’monscored the top location average of the pandemic era. Directed by Mike Mills, the coming-of-age drama starring Joaquin Phoenix opened to $134,447 from five theaters for a location average of $26,889 (that edges outThe French Dispatch, which recently scored a location average of $25,938).

Neon and Participant’s COVID-19documentaryThe First Waveopened in 11 locations, grossing $68,115 for a per theater location average of $6,192.

Among holdovers, Disney and Marvel’sEternalscame in at No. 2 in its third weekend with $10.8 million for a domestic total of $135.8 million. Overseas, it cleared the $200 million mark after earning another $22.7 million internationally for a worldwide total of $336.1 million.

Paramount’sClifford the Big Red Dog— which is also playing on Paramount+ — came in at No. 3 with $8.1 million in its second outing for a domestic total of $33.5 million. The kids pic fell 51 percent. (BothCliffordandKing Richardlost families toAfterlife.)

Legendary and Warners’Dunerounded out the top five domestically with $3.1 million in its fifth weekend for a domestic tally of $98.2 million.

Specialty picThe French Dispatchplaced No. 8 with $970,000 from 805 theaters for a domestic cume of $13.3 million for Searchlight Pictures. Focus Features’Belfastfollowed with $940,000 from 584 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $3.5 million. Princess Diana biographical dramaSpencerfinished its third weekend with a domestic cume of $6.1 million.

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By Troy Warren

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