LOS ANGELES, Nov 14 (Variety.com) - Marvel's comic book epic
"Eternals" is once again dominating over domestic box office
In its second weekend of release, the superhero adventure
has collected a leading $27.5 million from 4,090 North American
theaters. Through Sunday, "Eternals" crossed the $100 million
mark in the U.S. and Canada, with box office receipts at $118
million. Though it wouldn't be a particularly notable benchmark
in pre-COVID times, only a handful of films have surpassed $100
million in 2021.
"Eternals" declined 61% from its $71 million debut, a drop
that falls somewhere in between Marvel's other pandemic
releases, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" (which
declined 52% in its sophomore outing) and "Black Widow" (which
declined 67% in its sophomore outing). "Shang-Chi," like
"Eternals," is playing only in theaters while "Black Widow"
premiered on Disney Plus (for $30 on top of monthly subscription
fees) on the same day it opened in cinemas. Compared to recent
entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Eternals" hasn't
gotten the best reviews. It is the only installment to receive a
"rotten" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, and
it's one of the few to land a CinemaScore grade lower than "A"
from audiences. Those factors didn't affect Sony's comic book
sequel "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," which has similar audience
score and critic sentiment. However, moviegoers have come to
develop much higher expectations (and standards) for Disney's
MCU, a franchise that is critically and commercially in a league
of its own.
Speaking of "Venom," the second feature film that centers on
Tom Hardy's alien symbiote became the second COVID-era release
to surpass $200 million at the domestic box office. After nearly
two months in theaters, the movie placed at No. 5 with $3.7
million from 2,538 venues, propelling revenues to $202 million.
"Shang-Chi," which is the highest-grossing film of 2021 with
$224 million to date, is the only other film to cross $200
million this year.
In second place on domestic box office charts, Paramount's
family friendly adventure "Clifford the Big Red Dog" pulled in
$16.4 million from 3,700 locations between Friday and Sunday.
The film, which is available simultaneously on the streaming
service Paramount Plus, got a jump on the weekend by opening in
theaters on Wednesday, has generated $22 million in its first
five days of release.
"Clifford" had a decent start considering its hybrid
release, though analysts believe it would have made even more
money by having an exclusive theatrical window before moving to
digital platforms. However, family crowds have been slow to
return to cinemas because young children have only recently been
able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, so Paramount wanted to
couch ticket sales while boosting its nascent streaming service
in the process.
"The streaming option is not helping these movies," says
David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise
Entertainment Research. "Without it, their value would be
greater on each and every platform." Still, he says, "this is a
very solid opening in the face of difficult family moviegoing
"Dune," the sci-fi spectacle from Warner Bros. and
Legendary, placed third with $5.5 million from 3,282 screens. To
date, the movie has grossed $93 million while playing
concurrently on HBO Max.