Beyoncé’s Renaissance is #1 at the box office with US$21-million debut
Beyoncé ruled the box office this weekend. Her concert picture, Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé, opened in first place with US$21 million in North American ticket sales, according to estimates from AMC Theatres Sunday.
The post-Thanksgiving, early December box office is notoriously slow, but Renaissance defied the odds.
Not accounting for inflation, it’s the first time a film has opened over US$20 million on this weekend in 20 years (since The Last Samurai).
Beyoncé wrote, directed, and produced Renaissance, which is focused on the tour for her Grammy-winning album. It debuted in 2,539 cinemas in the US and Canada, as well as 94 international territories, where it earned US$6.4 million from 2,621 cinemas.
“On behalf of AMC Theatres Distribution and the entire theatrical industry, we thank Beyoncé for bringing this incredible film directly to her fans,” said Elizabeth Frank, AMC Theatres executive vice-president of worldwide programming, in a statement. “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.”
“They chose a great weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “There was competition, but it was from very different kinds of movies.”
Though Renaissance did not come close to matching the US$92.8 million debut of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in October, it’s still a very good start for a concert film.
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 US$32 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 over US$500 million and attracted over 2.7 million concertgoers. Swift’s ongoing Eras Tour, with 151 dates, is expected to gross some US$1.4 billion.
Both Beyoncé and Swift chose to partner with AMC Theatres to distribute their films, as opposed to a traditional studio.
Movie tickets to the show were more expensive than average, around US$23.32 versus Swift’s US$20.78, according to data firm EntTelligence.
Critics and audiences gave Renaissance glowing reviews — it’s sitting at 100 per cent 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.
Things should pick up in the final weeks of 2023, with films like Wonka and The Color Purple yet to come. The industry is looking at US$9 billion year — still trailing the US$11-billion pre-pandemic norm, but a marked improvement from the last few years. And there are still many solid options for moviegoers, as the industry’s awards season gets into full swing.