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‘Clifford The Big Red Dog’ Barks Up $2.3M Opening Day, Fetches ‘A’ CinemaScore

Paramount’s Clifford the Big Red Dog, which is taking advantage of the Veterans Day holiday, leashed second place on its opening day Wednesday with $2.3M, which includes previews at 3,407 theaters.

The Walt Becker-directed feature adaptation of the 58-year-old Scholastic children’s book IP also is available on Paramount+ as some studios practice a hybrid form of distribution with many kids under 12 still unvaccinated for Covid. The movie gets an A CinemaScore out of the gate.

There haven’t been many movies, especially family titles, opening on a Wednesday during the pandemic, so comps are challenged. One of the more notable Wednesday openings during the pandemic was Lionsgate’s R-rated Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which did $3.9M, but that was boosted by Tuesday night and weekend previews. The movie cleared a five-day of $16.7M. Clifford is projected to make $15M-$17M, and family business should be good today given that close to half of the nation’s K-12 schools are off. Paramount’s previous day-and-date theatrical/Paramount+ title PAW Patrol saw an opening of $13.1M and a final domestic of $40.1M. Paramount did not have No. 2 circuit in its suite for PAW Patrol, but the studio has the chain this time around for Clifford. 

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Disney’s Eternals posted a $4.3M Wednesday at 4,090 locations to win the day. The pic’s weekday grosses have posted solid holds to date, with Monday earning $4.2M and Tuesday $5.25M. The running total through six days for the Chloe Zhao-directed MCU feature is $85.1M. Eternals is expected to be down by 60%-65% in Weekend 2 from its $71.3M opening with $25M-$28.5M.

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Focus Features has the black-and-white Kenneth Branagh dramedy Belfast in 588 theaters. Previews start tonight at 7 p.m. The hope is that the pic clears $1M this weekend.

The rest of Wednesday’s top 5 includes Warner Bros/Legendary’s Dune at No. 3 with $830K, +4% from Tuesday, for a running total of $86.3M at 3,546 theaters.

Fourth is MGM/UAR’s No Time to Die with $662K, even with Tuesday, and a running total of $144.8M at 3,007 theaters.

Fifth belongs to Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage at 2,640 sites, with a $377K Wednesday, +14%, for a running total of $197.9M.

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