Beyoncé’s new concert film is delivering the goods at the box office, where it’s headed for the biggest early December opening in two decades.
Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé — which Beyoncé wrote, directed and produced — could now earn $22 million to $24 million in its debut after it was graced with glowing reviews and a coveted A+ CinemaScore. The film earned $11.5 million on Friday, including $5 million in Thursday previews
Distributor AMC Theatres — also home of blockbuster Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour — is remaining more conservative in suggesting a $20 million opening.
More than 70 percent of Friday’s audience was female, while 50 percent of the audience were Black moviegoers, in a win for diverse programming. Nearly 70 percent of ticket buyers were between ages 18 and 24, including 43 percent between ages 25 and 34.
The weekend after Thanksgiving is notoriously sluggish, and Renaissance is a welcome gift for exhibitors. To date, the biggest opening for the first weekend of December belongs to Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai ($24.3 million), not adjusted for inflation.
Similar to Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and her team decided to bypass Hollywood studios and struck a pact with AMC Theatres to distribute Renaissance, which chronicles her recent world stage tour, while including behind-the-scenes footage detailing the planning and execution of the concert.
Swift and AMC made history in October when Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour opened to a staggering $92.8 million domestically, by far the biggest launch ever for a concert movie. No one expected Renaissance to do the same sort of business, considering her audience is older.
Before Eras Tour, 2008’s Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour held the record for the top domestic opening for a concert film with $31.1 million, not adjusted for inflation. That was followed by 2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which opened to $29.5 million.
Renaissance is also rolling out overseas, where it is likewise tracking to open in the $20 million range for a global start of $40 million.
The concert pic isn’t the only gift for exhibitors this weekend. The Japanese film Godzilla Minus One looks to come in No. 3 behind Renaissance and holdover The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes with a hefty $9 million to $10 million thanks to younger men. Males made up 77 percent of ticket buyers on Friday, with 63 percent of all ticket buyers between the ages of 18 and 34.
Coming in No. 4 is the newest offering from Angel Studios, home of sleeper hit Sound of Freedom. The sci-fi, faith-based The Shift is looking at a muted start in the $4.5 million range.
Elsewhere, the news was bleak for Thanksgiving entries Napoleon, from Apple Original Films and Sony, and Disney Animation’s Wish.
Trolls Band Together, Wish and Napoleon are in a three-way race for fourth-place. The trio of films is pacing for a weekend gross in the $7 million range. For Wish, that would mean a steep drop of 63 percent, although Disney is more hopeful in giving a $7 million to $9 million range.
Napoleon is an even worse position, and could fall off as much as 66 percent after opening ahead of expectations over Thanksgiving. The steep decline isn’t a surprise to Hollywood insiders, considering the biographical epic got dinged with a B- CinemaScore by audiences, coupled with poor exits on PostTrak.
Wish, conversely, earned an A CinemaScore and strong exits, meaning it could have legs thanks to strong word of mouth.