Friday Box Office: ‘Eternals’ Plunges 75% As ‘Venom 2’ Tops $200M

Izaac Wang and Darby Camp in CLIFFORD BIG RED DOG Paramount
Paramount's Clifford: The Big Red Dog was Friday's top new release in a weekend that saw very few "big" releases (since Top Gun: Maverick moved from 2022 to Ghostbusters: Afterlife took its November 19, slot), The live-action, kid-targeted fantasy comedy earned $4.215million. This gives the comedy's $64 million budget a total of $9.7million since its Wednesday opening. Clifford will now be able to launch Fri-Sun for $14.6 million and Wed-Sun for $20.2 million.

This is despite the film being simultaneously "free" on Paramount+, and despite not having a single scene in which Clifford eats anyone or knocks down buildings. Even excluding the first two days, it's a larger Fri-Sun frame than Tom & Jerry ($14million in February) or Paw Patrol ($13million in August). It also opens at the same level as it would in non-Covid days.

Norman Bridwell's children’s book series is adapted with a sincere, level-headed sincerity. It doesn't care if it's hip or current in its humor. Darcy Camp is a star alongside Jack Whitehall and John Cleese. The bright, vibrant, Walt Becker directed film is definitely better than Yogi Bear and Alvin and the Chipmunks, or Tom & Jerry.

Cinemascore gives this movie an A. I think it has decent legs, except for the slew of child-targeted films (Ghostbusters: Afterlife next Wednesday and Disney's fantastic Encanto over Thanksgiving). If Clifford is able to weather the November storm, it will be easy sailing until Sing 2 at christmas. As long as the budget is controlled, there is clearly a market in "in theaters" and "on streaming" kid-specific titles.

LONDON (ENGLAND) - OCTOBER 12, 2018: Kenneth Branagh and Jude Hill attend... [+] The "Belfast” European Premiere at the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall, London, England on October 12, 2021. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images. Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Kenneth Branagh's Belfast was the other notable opener. The highly-reviewed and well-received Focus Features release was based loosely on Branagh's childhood during The Troubles. It has been deemed a "by default Oscar frontrunner" partly because everyone enjoys it, even those who don't love it.

This is a rock-solid character dramaty with strong performances, including meaty turns by Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, and Caitriona Balfe. It also has a cultural particularity that makes it more universal. It opened in 640,000 theaters and was screened in 580 theaters. This set the stage for a $1.63million opening weekend. The opening weekend was not going to be a success for a black-and-white, star-less drama about a coming-of age period piece. This crowdpleaser is clearly focused on strong word of mouth and long awards-season legs.

L-R: Kingo (Kumail Nagani), Sersi(Gemma Chan), and Sprite(Lia McHugh), in Marvel Studios'... [+] ETERNALS. Photo by Sophie Mutevelian. (c)Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. Sophie Mutevelian

Marvel's Eternals earned $7.819 million on Friday and dropped an unexpectedly high 74.6%, bringing its eight-day total to $99.084 millions. The MCU flick will cross $100 million today. This is just one day quicker than The Incredible Hulk's 2008 debut of $55 million (midsummer). Black Widow's Friday-to-Friday drop was the second-worst, falling 80% from a Friday release of $39 million and Ant-Man & the Wasp by 75% from a Friday release of $33 million.

Black Widow was also available on Disney+ at $30, which reduced the theatrical repeat business and revenue. Eternals is only theatrical, and saw a 62% drop in weekend sales. This was on par with Spider-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp's $117 million debut in July 2017, and Ant-Man and the Wasp's -62% drop from a $76million debut in July 2019. Spidey and the Ant-Man sequel soared this summer, with 2.8x weekend-to-finish multipliers. Black Widow earned only 2.28x (same weekend of 2020).

These grosses would be higher and other variables (reviews buzz, buzz, opening of a Disney Toon in 1.5 weeks, etc.) would not be so important. If this weren't so dangerous, it would be trivial. All signs point to either a relative disapproval of (or worse) cultural indifference to Marvel's latest film, at least in North America. Venom: Let There be Carnage has crossed $200 million domestic thanks to a Friday $1.03 million (-14%). It will make $3.83 million (-14%) in weekend seven to reach a domestic cume of $202.5 million. This is just as it approaches The Amazing Spider-Man 2's $202.8 million cume and last year's Bad Boys For Life total of $204 million.

Timothee Chalamet portrays Paul Atreides in "Dune" Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Eternals pain is Dune’s pleasure as the WB film finally held in weekend four. Legendary sci-fi epic The Legendary earned $1.62 Million (-29%) Friday, for a probable $5.58 Million (-28%) fourth weekend gross. The $165 million, 2.5-hour film, Denis Villeneuve-directed movie will now have a $93.2million cume. It's unlikely that it will drop like a rock against Ghostbusters Afterlife. But it is expected to cross $100 million domestically by the end. No Time to Die, which earned $1.36 million (-25%) Friday, had a probable net of $4.51 million (-25%) for the sixth weekend.

This is "despite" James Bond 25 passing $150 million domestically tomorrow, despite it being made available on PVOD Tuesday. It may also surpass the $700 million global milestone tomorrow, currently second only F9 ($721million) among MPA releases. Its current overseas total, sans-China, is over/under $475 millions. This is more than any Hollywood release since late 2019, save for F9 ($721million). F9's global total, which includes $173 million domestically and $203 million in China, was $721 million. While it is difficult to argue whether $160m domestic is enough (even on a Covid curve), its overseas numbers are doing the job.