Early November is often a very tricky time at the box office. Studios have to decide whether they want to release their films when there is less competition or wait for the busy holiday season. Movie theaters are packed throughout the country around the holidays, but it is very easy for a film to get overshadowed by other big releases. Four films decided to take the risk by releasing this weekend, and it turned out to be the wrong move for three of them.
The biggest film hitting theaters for the first time this weekend was “Terminator: Dark Fate.” While this is the sixth film in the popular film franchise, it was the first since 1991 to feature work from Linda Hamilton and James Cameron. The big returns were supposed to help revitalize the franchise. The fans clearly had other ideas. “Terminator: Dark Fate” easily won by weekend by opening with an estimated $29 million, but that was well below expectations. Box office experts predicted an opening weekend of more than $40 million.
The other two new releases that bombed this weekend were “Motherless Brooklyn” and “Arctic Dogs.” “Motherless Brooklyn” is a noir crime film set in the 1950s. Its release was notable because it is the first film to star award-winning actor Edward Norton since 2016’s “Collateral Beauty.” Norton also wrote and directed the film. Despite solid reviews, movie-goers clearly were not excited to see Norton return to the big screen. It finished the weekend in ninth place after earning only $3.65 million over its first three days of release.
Animated comedy “Arctic Dogs” performed even worse than “Motherless Brooklyn.” Despite featuring a high-profile voice cast and a $50 million production budget, the film was quietly released without much promotion. All hopes for a solid box office performance were eliminated after the movie received abysmal reviews from the critics. “Arctic Dogs” finished in 10th place with a $3.1 million weekend.
The only new release to exceed expectations was historical drama “Harriet.” The film overcame a few minor controversies to earn an impressive $12 million. “Terminator,” “Joker” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” were the only films to make more money than “Harriet” this weekend. With strong reviews from the critics and fans the Harriet Tubman biopic should continue to perform well in the coming weeks.