The Grinch makes off with $66m at the US box office

2018-11-12 11:08
The character Grinch, voiced by Benedict Cumberbat

Los Angeles — You're a mean one — and you're number one — Mr. Grinch.

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch sledded past mixed reviews and made off with $66m for Universal Pictures to top the weekend North American box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Last week's top film, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, drops to second for 20th Century Fox with a $30.8m weekend that brings its overall take to $100m.

Illumination, the Universal-owned animators behind The Minions and Despicable Me, produced the latest interpretation of Seuss' 1957 book that led to a 1966 TV special and first came to the big screen as a live-action feature starring Jim Carrey in 2000.

Paramount Pictures' war-horror hybrid Overlord was third in its first weekend with $10.1m. Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms brought in $9.5m and finished fourth in its second week. The weekend's other major debut, The Girl in the Spider's Web, made just $8m and finished fifth.

Illumination's Grinch, narrated by Pharrell Williams, gives the title character, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, a backstory in an orphanage and fills out the story of his foil Cindy Lou Who.

It's the second Seuss adaptation for Illumination. Its version of The Lorax opened with a comparable $70m weekend and went on to gross $348.8m worldwide.

The Grinch was widely expected to be No. 1 with few other major openings this weekend, but it surpassed projections that had it bringing in closer to $60m, continuing what's become a trend in 2018.

The Grinch is just the latest in a string of over-performers," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. "Bohemian Rhapsody was bigger than expected, A Star Is Born was bigger than expected. It's fueling a box-office surge."

The industry has reached a cumulative box office total of $10bn faster than in any other year, Dergarabedian said.

The Christmas theme of The Grinch could sustain it through the holidays and Universal hopes it has a longer life than that.

"With Thanksgiving coming, we're poised to have a great run through that," said Jim Orr, president of domestic distribution for Universal. "Illumination's created such a classic take on this beloved character that audiences will be enjoying it for a really long time."

But big rivals loom soon, including Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald next week and Ralph Breaks The Internet on 21 November.

"We've got a lot of competition coming up for family audiences," Dergarabedian said.

Read more on:    box office  |  movies

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.