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Credit: Sony Pictures

Box office: Monster Hunter chomps on small $2.2 million bow as Wonder Woman 1984's prepares for historic Christmas debut

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Dec 20, 2020, 1:56 PM EST

Paul W.S. Anderson's Monster Hunter adaptation fell well below box office expectations in this weekend with a not-so-monster-sized domestic bow of $2.2 million, Deadline confirmed this weekend.

Despite such a lackluster debut, Deadline surmises that "Sony is looking at the long game of the holiday stretch from this Monday until Jan. 3." Unfortunately, critic reviews are against the $60 million feature, which holds a borderline rotten score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus reads: "Monster Hunter is mostly a mindless blur of action, held together by the slenderest threads of dialogue and plot — and exactly what many viewers will be looking for." General viewers seem to be enjoying the project a lot more, however, as the opposing audience score sits much higher at 69%.

The Sony-backed project marks Anderson's second collaboration with Capcom after launching the highly successful Resident Evil film franchise in the early 2000s. Monster Hunter, which also stars Milla Jovovich (the filmmaker's actual wife) in the main role, may have fared better in normal times, but theaters continue to struggle amid the COVID-19 health crisis. With a vaccine currently being administered around the world, Hollywood and theatrical exhibitors are optimistic that a brighter future for the in-person moviegoing experience is just on the horizon. That said, the film did perform much better in international markets, where it's brought in almost $5 million so far. Globally, Monster Hunter's box office haul currently stands at $6.44 million.

Also written by Anderson, the film centers on a group of soldiers (led by Jovovich's Artemis) who find themselves transported to another dimension populated by giant, bloodthirsty creatures. Tip "T.I." Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, Josh Helman, and Jin Au-Yeung co-star.

Sony is going to face some serious competition next weekend when Wonder Woman 1984 hits the big screen and HBO Max simultaneously Christmas Day (Friday, Dec. 25). Much to the dismay of several directors, Warner Bros. is shaking up the theatrical model and only time will tell if the strategy will become permanent. Due to the current pandemic, the studio is providing a dual rollout for all of its 2021 film slate, which includes Lana Wachowski's fourth Matrix film and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad.

Getting back to the current lineup, DreamWorks' The Croods: A New Age was knocked into second place for the first time since it opened four weeks ago. The animated sequel, which is now available on-demand, brought in an additional $2 million for a North American total of $27 million. Worldwide, it has $84.5 million, with $50 million of that number coming from China.

Re-releases of classics movies — especially holiday touchstones like Elf, The Polar Express, and Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas — are doing relatively well in a time devoid of new movies. In addition, Universal and Blumhouse's Freaky (also on PVOD) is still in the game with $8.5 million domestically and almost $6 million international for a global cache of $14.45 million.

(DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures, and SYFY WIRE are all owned by NBCUniversal)