03 December 2023

Beyonce’s Renaissance tops the box office with multi-million-dollar debut

03 December 2023

Beyonce ruled the box office this weekend.

Her concert picture, Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce, opened in first place with 21 million dollars (£16.5 million) in North American ticket sales, according to estimates from AMC Theatres on Sunday.

The post-Thanksgiving, early December box office is notoriously slow, but Renaissance appears to have defied the odds.

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Not accounting for inflation, it’s the first time a film has opened more than 20 million dollars (£15.7 million) on this weekend in 20 years (since The Last Samurai).

Beyonce wrote, directed and produced Renaissance, which is focused on the tour for her Grammy-winning album.

It debuted in 2,539 theatres in the US and Canada, as well as 94 international territories, where it earned 6.4 million dollars (£5 million) from 2,621 theatres.

Elizabeth Frank, AMC Theatres executive vice president of worldwide programming said: “On behalf of AMC Theatres Distribution and the entire theatrical industry, we thank Beyonce for bringing this incredible film directly to her fans.

“To see it resonate with fans and with film critics on a weekend that many in the industry typically neglect is a testament to her immense talent, not just as a performer, but as a producer and director.”

Though Renaissance did not come close to matching the 92.8 million-dollar (£73 million) debut of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in October, it is still a very good start for a concert film.

No one expected Renaissance to match The Eras Tour, which is wrapping up its theatrical run soon with more than 250 million dollars (£196.8 million) globally.

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Prior to Swift, the biggest concert film debuts (titles held by Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber for their 2008 and 2011 films) had not surpassed the unadjusted sum of 32 million dollars (£25.1 million).

The 39-city, 56-show Renaissance tour, which kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden in May and ended in Kansas City, Missouri in the fall, made more than 500 million dollars (£393 million) and attracted more than 2.7 million concertgoers.

Swift’s ongoing Eras Tour, with 151 dates, is expected to gross some 1.4 billion dollars (£1.1 billion).

Both Beyonce and Swift chose to partner with AMC Theatres to distribute their films, as opposed to a traditional studio.

Both superstars have been supportive of one another, making splashy appearances at the other’s premieres, and both had previously released films on Netflix (Miss Americana and Homecoming).

Similarly, both are reported to be receiving at least 50% of ticket sales.

Movie tickets to the show were more expensive than average, around 23.32 dollars (£18.36) versus Swift’s 20.78 (£16.36) dollars, according to data firm EntTelligence.

Critics and audiences gave Renaissance glowing reviews – it is sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and got a coveted A+ CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences who were polled.

EntTelligence also estimates that the audience, around 900,000 strong, skewed a little older than Swift’s.

Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes fell to second place in its third weekend with an estimated 14.5 million dollars (£11.4 million). The prequel has now earned more than 121 million dollars (£95 million) domestically.

Godzilla Minus One took third place on the North American charts with 11 million dollars (£8.6 million) from 2,308 locations — the biggest opening for a foreign film in the US this year.

The well-reviewed Japanese blockbuster distributed by Toho International cost only 15 million dollars (£11.8 million) to produce and has already earned 23 million dollars (£18.1 million) in Japan.

Toho’s 33rd Godzilla film is set in the aftermath of World War II, stars Ryunosuke Kamiki and was directed by Takashi Yamazaki.

Koji Ueda, President of Toho Global, said: “This year, we made a concentrated effort to answer the demand of the marketplace and make Godzilla globally accessible across many different platforms.”

Trolls Band Together landed in fourth place in its third weekend with 7.6 million dollars (£5.9 million), bringing its domestic total to 74.8 million dollars (£58.9 million).

Fifth place went to Disney’s Wish, which fell 62% from its underwhelming first weekend, with 7.4 million dollars (£5.8 million) from 3,900 locations.

Globally, it has now made 81.6 million dollars (£64.2 million).

The studio’s other major film in theatres, The Marvels is also winding down in its fourth weekend with a disastrous global tally of 197 million dollars (£155 million) against the reported 300 million dollars (£236.2 million) it cost to make and market the superhero film.

In its second weekend, Ridley Scott’s Napoleon earned an estimated 7.1 million dollars (£5.5 million) from 3,500 locations.

Produced by Apple Original Films and distributed by Sony Pictures, the film starring Joaquin Phoenix has now made 45.7 million dollars (£35.9 million) domestically against a 200 million-dollar (£157 million) budget.

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