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‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ to Top ‘The Grinch’ in Slow Box Office Weekend

Animated family fare is dominating at the North American box office, with “Ralph Breaks the Internet” having the edge over “The Grinch” with about $15 million this weekend, early estimates showed Friday.

With no fresh wide releases hitting domestic theaters, the third weekend of Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was topping the fifth weekend of Universal-Illumination’s “The Grinch” by about $300,000. Should projections hold, “Ralph” could become the fourth movie released this year to top the box office for three weeks straight, joining “Black Panther,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” should wind up the weekend with around $138 million in its first 19 days in North America, while “The Grinch” will go past $220 million domestically. MGM-New Line’s third weekend of “Creed II” is heading for third place in the $9 million to $10 million range to lift the eighth iteration in the Rocky franchise to about $95 million domestically by the end of the weekend.

The fourth weekend of Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” should finish fourth with around $7 million, followed by the sixth weekend of “Bohemian Rhapsody” with about $5 million — which will give the musical biopic more than $170 million domestically.

Universal is seeing modest results from its re-release of “Schindler’s List” in honor of its 25th anniversary with about $750,000 at 1,304 sites. “Schindler’s List” grossed $320 million at the worldwide box office in 1993 and won seven Oscars, including best picture and best director for Steven Spielberg, in the story of German businessman Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), who saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

The box office should see a surge again next weekend with the launches of “Spider-Verse: Into the Spider-Verse,” “The Mule,” and “Mortal Engines.” Disney opens “Mary Poppins Returns” on Dec. 19 and “Aquaman” and “Bumblebee” are debuting two days later.

Year-to-date North American box office was $10.89 billion as of Dec. 5, up 9.8% over the 2017 box office at the same point, according to comScore. It’s also up 3.2% over 2016, which went on to set a record at $11.4 billion. Thanks to records in February, April, June, and October, the 2018 box office has been on a record-setting pace for most of the year.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, notes that studios have tended to avoid opening new films during the two post-Thanksgiving weekends.

“As is expected for this typically slow early December weekend in any given year, there are no new wide release titles to entice audiences, so it will be a tale of the holdovers as the industry awaits the customary mid-December flood of high profile titles that will move the ball forward toward the goal of a record box office year that currently holds at a solid 10% advantage over 2017,” he added.

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