Pandemic audiences ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
Soaring past pre-release projections of $27-to-$30 million, Ghostbusters: Afterlife — the franchise reboot built around the grandkids of one of the original Ghostbusters — zapped and trapped over $44 million at North American movie theaters over it’s opening weekend.
Despite mixed reviews, the new chapter of Gen Z ghostbusters was fueled by strong word-of-mouth and a Grade “A” audience Cinemascore. The film’s heartwarming embrace of family legacy (which mirrors the making of the movie, directed by Jason Reitman, son of the original’s director Ivan Reitman) added emotional depth to a fun, spooky action-comedy that appealed to fans nostalgic for the first movie and their kids.
While Afterlife will face big competition over the Thanksgiving holiday frame with the likes of Encanto and House of Gucci, it looks to enjoy a long and successful run in theaters (especially as it’s easily on track to make a healthy profit above its $75 million budget).
Meanwhile, fellow newcomer King Richard had a hard time scaring up any viewers. Projected to take in $10 million, the real-life sports drama only managed half that, taking in a measly $5.7 million on over 3,300 screens to finish fourth in its debut.
Despite being an inspiring crowd-pleaser starring Will Smith appeal and the intrigue of its subject (how Richard Williams groomed his daughters Venus and Serena to be the greatest women tennis players in the world), King Richard couldn’t even clear the lowest of expectations.
One big obstacle King Richard faced: playing simultaneously on streamer HBO Max for no extra charge. While other movies like Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong faired better under the same hybrid release strategy, those were blockbuster spectacles that viewers felt demanded a big screen experience. Apparently, people didn’t feel the same way about this real-life Oscar hopeful.
Marvel’s Eternals held on to the #2 slot with $10.8 million. Its North American cume now stands at $135.8 million and $336 million worldwide. Family flick Clifford the Big Red Dog stayed steady at #3 with $8.1 million, and Dune reached $98.1 million in North America with another $3 million take at #5. It should pass the $100 million mark this week, and currently stands at $367 million worldwide.
Finally, Daniel Craig‘s James Bond finale No Time To Die became the highest-grossing Hollywood release worldwide since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Its $734 million global haul slides past F9‘s $725 million final total.