Proving even Marvel superheroes can't always defy gravity, "Eternals" dropped sharply in North American theaters over the weekend but managed to edge out a family-friendly newcomer about a big dog, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
It said "Eternals," distributed by Disney, took in an estimated $27.5 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period, down from $71 million the preceding weekend. That was one of the larger second-weekend drops in Marvel's history, according to Variety.
Directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao, "Eternals" stars Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden and Gemma Chan in the story of an immortal race of aliens who emerge from hiding to save the Earth.
In second place was new Paramount release "Clifford the Big Red Dog," at $16.4 million. The adaptation of the children's book series by Norman Bridwell follows the adventures of young Emily Elizabeth and her astoundingly large red dog as they tromp through New York City.
Family films like "Clifford" and those appealing to older audiences have generally performed weakly in the Covid era, said industry analyst David A. Gross. He said Hollywood's overall recovery remains tenuous, with the US box office since early September down about 35 percent from the 2019 period.
In third place this weekend, down one spot, was Warner Bros. sci-fi thriller "Dune," at $5.5 million. Based on the classic Frank Herbert opus, the story of survival on a frightening desert planet stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Oscar Isaac.
Fourth place went to United Artist's James Bond film "No Time to Die," with Daniel Craig in his final appearance as the suave British spy. It took in $4.6 million in North America, and is approaching $525 million internationally.
And in fifth was Sony superhero film "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, at $4 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"Ron's Gone Wrong" ($2.2 million)
"The French Dispatch" ($1.8 million)
"Belfast" ($1.8 million)
"Spencer" ($1.5 million)
"Antlers" ($1.2 million)