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'Eternals' barely hangs on to lead over 'Clifford'

by DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE PRESS SERVICES | November 19, 2021 at 1:32 a.m.
This image released by Marvel Studios shows Kumail Nanjiani in a scene from "Eternals." (Marvel Studios via AP)


Disney and Marvel's "Eternals" took a steep drop in its second weekend in theaters, but it's still hanging on to first place ahead of newcomers like "Clifford the Big Red Dog."

"Eternals" added $27.5 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $118.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The film, directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao and starring Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani and Gemma Chan, fell 61% from its debut. Though not uncommon for a big superhero tentpole, it was significantly steeper than the 52% drop seen by the last Disney and Marvel offering, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

Both played exclusively in theaters, but the main difference is that "Shang-Chi" simply got better ratings from audiences and critics. "Shang-Chi" also became available to stream on Disney+ last weekend. "Eternals" has made $281.4 million globally to date.

Second place went to "Clifford the Big Red Dog," which opened in theaters during the week and was also available to stream at home for Paramount+ subscribers. It made an estimated $16.4 million from 3,700 theaters over the weekend and $22 million across its five days in release.

Directed by Walt Becker, the semi-animated family film about a larger-than-life canine with scarlet fur stars Jack Whitehall, Darby Camp, Tony Hale, Sienna Guillory, David Alan Grier, Izaac Wang, Russell Wong, Kenan Thompson and John Cleese.

Based on the popular children's book series of the same name, "Clifford the Big Red Dog" earned a mediocre 48% on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, but received a solid A rating from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

"There's been a lot of talk about family audiences and whether or not they want to go to the movie theater," said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore's senior media analyst. "I think this is a really solid debut. It shows there is a demand for family films on the small screen and the big screen."

Blockbusters rounded out the top five with "Dune" in third place with $5.5 million, "No Time to Die" in fourth with $4.6 million and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" in fifth with $4 million. Notably, "Venom 2" last weekend became only the second pandemic-era film to cross the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. The other was "Shang-Chi."

More and more awards hopefuls are entering the specialty box office as well, and many are making their way into the top 10. Last weekend Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical film "Belfast" made $1.8 million from 580 screens in its debut. In its second weekend, "Spencer," featuring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, pulled in $1.5 million from 1,265 screens. And even in its fourth weekend, Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch" continues to do well, adding $1.8 million and bringing its total to $11.6 million.

Outside the top 10, the Julia Child documentary "Julia" opened on five screens to $20,796.

"These films are in fewer theaters, but there is a demand for independent film which is one of the categories that everyone thought would be really hurt by the pandemic," Dergarabedian said. "We're really seeing signs of a much more normalized marketplace."

This weekend, get ready for something strange in your neighborhood with Columbia's "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," as well as Warner Bros.' "King Richard," starring Will Smith as the father and coach of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.

Jack Whitehall, from left, Darby Camp and Izaac Wang appear in a scene from "Clifford the Big Red Dog."  (Paramount Pictures via AP)
Jack Whitehall, from left, Darby Camp and Izaac Wang appear in a scene from "Clifford the Big Red Dog." (Paramount Pictures via AP)


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