'Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce' tops box office

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"Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce" premiered at the top of the US box office, raking in $21.8 million during the typically anemic first weekend of December, according to research firm Comscore.

Beyonce Knowles' concert film marked the first time a movie crossed the $20 million mark on this weekend since the 2003 movie The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise, Comscore said.

"It's kind of a dead zone for the box office historically," said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "It’s like the weekend after Labour Day or the first weekend after the summer is over. There’s a lull there that often happens, so I think they picked a great release date."

As Taylor Swift's Eras concert film did for her fans, Renaissance gave fans of Beyonce, known as the Beyhive, an opportunity to put on their cowboy hats with rhinestone tassels and enjoy the spectacle of the singer's concert tour - even if they could not score tickets to the sold-out shows. Social media clips showed filmgoers across the world donning silver, metallic outfits while dancing and singing along in packed theatres.

Live Nation reported that the superstar’s 56-stop Renaissance World Tour earned more than $579 million worldwide - a hot ticket that economists say may have fanned inflation in Europe.

Reviewers lauded the film for providing a behind-the-scenes look at the star's first world tour since 2016, with its frequent costume changes, breathtaking choreography, "surreal" visuals and Beyonce's multi-platinum voice.

The artist known for hits like Flawless, who gained prominence as a member of Destiny's Child, holds the record for most Grammy wins - 32.

In addition to the concert scenes, the film gave a rare glimpse at how Beyonce grapples with stardom and motherhood. She also spoke candidly about the challenges - and joy - of being a Black woman in the music industry.

Although Renaissance's box office fell short of Swift's $96 million opening weekend, Comscore's Dergarabedian said the result will likely be the same. "You’re going to sell more downloads of her music, by virtue of having fans in the theatres," he said. "And it’s a lot cheaper than a ticket to a concert."

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