Illumination and Universal’s “The Grinch,” a remake of the Dr. Seuss classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” earned $2.2 million in Thursday previews from 3,200 screens. It will open on 4,140 screens this weekend.
Universal is projecting an opening weekend of $50 million for “The Grinch” and as high as $62 million based on numbers from independent trackers. Illumination’s previous Dr. Seuss adaptation, “The Lorax,” exceeded expectations by opening to $70.2 million in March 2012. Both “The Lorax” and “The Grinch” have reported $75 million budgets, consistent with other Illumination films. More recently, Illumination’s 2016 film “Sing” opened to only $1.7 million in Thursday previews on the way to a $35.2 million opening.
“The Grinch” stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character along with Rashida Jones and Kenan Thompson, telling the story of a lonely green grouch who concocts a plan to steal Christmas. Longtime Illumination director Yarrow Cheney directs with Scott Mosier.
The family-friendly “The Grinch” also faces some competition from much more adult fare. Opening this weekend is Sony’s “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” and Paramount’s “Overlord,” both films with an R-rating. And all three films have to contend with “Bohemian Rhapsody” hoping to have a strong holdover in its second weekend.
“Overlord” nabbed $900,000 in its Thursday showing from 2,330 locations. Earlier this year, the sci-fi “Annihilation” also opened to $900,000 on Thursday and went on to gross $11.1 million over the three-day weekend. Paramount is expecting an opening between $9-10 million, with expectations from independent trackers topping out at $13 million. The film will open in approximately 2,850 locations as well as on 300 IMAX screens.
The horror film produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Julius Avery is set during World War II and follows American paratroopers behind enemy lines on D-Day who discover the Nazis performing unspeakable experiments. It currently has an 86 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Spider’s Web” earned only $635,000 in its Thursday opening across 2,620 screens. Sony is anticipating an $8 million opening with trackers suggesting as much as $12-$14 million when it opens on approximately 2,400 screens. Comparatively, the American “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” from 2011, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in David Fincher’s film, opened to $12.7 million on its way to $102 million domestically and over $230 million worldwide. However, “Spider’s Web” is operating on nearly half of the original film’s budget at just $43 million.
Claire Foy takes up the role of goth hacker and defender of women Lisbeth Salander in the film directed by Fede Alvarez, which he co-wrote with Jay Basu and Steven Knight. Columbia Pictures co-produced the film with MGM and New Regency.