The title says it all. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever isn’t going anywhere soon, even with roughly five new wide releases hitting theaters on Wednesday. You can read more about them below. This weekend may have been slightly cooled off by a number of storms hitting various parts of the country, but it’s not like this weekend’s new movies were going to be massive hits regardless.
This Past Weekend
As expected, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever effortlessly won its second weekend in a row at the box office with an estimated $67.3 million. That’s a relatively massive 63% drop from last week’s opening, though it’s a better second-weekend drop than Marvel’s two previous theatrical releases this year. So far, Wakanda has grossed $288 million domestically, while adding another $69.8 million overseas for a global total of $546.3 million. As mentioned above, Wakanda Forever is likely to overcome the odds to win a third weekend in a row, and the movies opening on Dec. 2 and 9 aren’t likely to offer much competition for two more potential weekends in first place.
Coming in strong in second place was Searchlight Studio’s dark comedy, The Menu, with an ensemble cast led by Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, John Leguizamo, and more. Grossing an estimated $9 million in 3,211 theaters, that’s the best opening for a Searchlight Studios release since it was rebranded from Fox Searchlight in early 2020. To be fair, it’s been contending with the pandemic and the decline of adult-oriented movie fare in theaters since then.
There’s actually been quite a bit of chatter lately about what is necessary to save the ailing box office, and that answer came in the form of… streaming?! Dallas Jenkins’ historical drama series, The Chosen, about the life of Jesus of Nazareth, premiered the first two episodes of its third season in 2,012 theaters on Friday, via Angel Studios, ahead of its streaming debut later in December. After making $3.5 million in its first day, it took third place with a solid $8.2 million or $4,085 per theater. Some industry-ites have been pondering whether Disney might want to consider premiering a few episodes of the next seasons of The Mandalorian or Loki in theaters ahead of their streaming debuts. The Chosen’s stealthy showing is quite eye-opening.
Warner Bros’ own superhero movie, Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, dropped to third place with $4.5 million, down 44%, ending its fifth weekend in domestic theaters with $157 million.
Universal Pictures’ comedy hit, Ticket to Paradise, starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, took fifth place with $3.2 million (down 46%), and that has grossed $61.6 million domestically, which is quite an impressive showing for a romantic comedy. It’s unlikely to hit $100 million ala Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s The Lost World earlier this year, being that it’s already available on demand.
The other new wide release was Universal’s She Said, starring Carey Mulligan and Zoey Kazan, which opened in 2022 theaters with an estimated $2.25 million for the weekend, only $160,000 of that coming from Thursday previews. With an even worse showing than expected, it’s going to be tough for Universal to justify holding screens for it over the busy Thanksgiving weekend. Even so, She Said was received better with audiences, scoring an “A” CinemaScore, compared to the “B” for The Menu. Expect She Said to be on VOD by early December, although Above the Line will have an interview with Director Maria Schrader before then.
All the returning movies that made less than She Said took massive hits in theater counts and had larger than usual drops from last weekend. Most of them will also be gone from theaters to make room for other new movies opening and expanding this week.
U.A. Releasing gave Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All a platform release into five theaters in New York and L.A. ahead of its wide expansion on Wednesday, which you can read more about below.
Another film that platformed this weekend was Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection, released by A24., also into five New York and L.A. theaters, where it brought in $66,000 or $13,000 per theater. (Above the Line will have an interview with Bratton this coming week.)
Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans added another $94,000 in four New York and L.A. theaters ahead of its own planned nationwide expansion on Wednesday. It has grossed just $314,000 so far, which is not a good sign for it to do well outside bigger cities next weekend.
|Rank||Entry||Distributor||Revenue||Theater Count||Total Revenue|
|1||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever||Walt Disney||$67,300,000||4,396||$287,992,647|
|2||The Menu||Searchlight Pictures||$9,000,000||3,211||$9,000,000|
|3||The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2||Fathom Events||$8,219,762||2,027||$8,219,762|
|4||Black Adam||Warner Bros.||$4,480,000||3,372||$156,964,608|
|5||Ticket to Paradise||Universal||$3,200,000||3,268||$61,556,235|
|7||Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile||Sony Pictures||$1,900,000||2,307||$43,171,784|
|9||Drishyam 2||Yash Raj Films||$1,050,000||305||$1,050,000|
|10||Prey for the Devil||Lionsgate||$935,000||1,369||$18,368,378|
It was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and Sony released Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a “requel” to his late father Ivan Reitman’s hit movies from the ‘80s. That ended up being just the trick to revive the franchise, as it opened with $44 million in 4,315 theaters, a terrific start on its way to $129.4 million domestic. (Just a friendly reminder that a year ago, the country was still not fully recovered from the pandemic.)
Also, Warner Bros. released the tennis biopic King Richard, starring Will Smith, who would win the Oscar for playing Richard Williams months later, his first Oscar overshadowed by events that have been analyzed and overanalyzed ad nauseam since March. Either way, the decision to stream it simultaneously on HBO Max amidst a pandemic definitely cut into theatrical business, since it opened in fourth place with $5.4 million. That would be Smith’s worst opening since his 1993 film, Six Degrees of Separation.
Thankfully, after another relatively quieter weekend, Thanksgiving time in movie theaters will be quite robust with a number of new movies but also a few others expanding wider and even nationwide. Regardless, there’s a highly likely probability that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will remain #1 over the extended five-day weekend, as those who haven’t seen it might go with their families.
Disney has long been the Thanksgiving champ with 15 of the top 20 3-day openers. Disney Animation‘s latest family film, Strange World, following the pattern of last year’s #1 movie, Encanto. There’s a good reason for this, and that’s because Thanksgiving is frequently thought of as a holiday where families are reunited, so they often go to see movies, normally on Black Friday but with many being out of school or off-work on Wednesday,
Strange World has not been getting quite the marketing push of other Disney animated movies, and early reactions have been mixed, at best – reviews won’t run until Monday morning – although there are almost zero other options for families with younger kids this week. (Sony’s Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile enjoyed its 8th weekend in the top ten, despite generally low returns.) That lack of family offerings will greatly help Strange World over the extended five-day weekend, and it should be able to make roughly $40 million – very close to Encanto’s opening last year – putting it in a close second place to Black Panther.
One of the week’s releases that should garner a lot of interest is stremer Netflix finally releasing an original movie into two of the country’s largest theater chains, AMC and Regal. The big question is whether Rian Johnson’s comedy sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, hitting roughly 600 theaters on Wednesday for a one-week exclusive run, will report box office – the odds are probably 50/50 at this point.
Daniel Craig‘s gentleman detective Benoit Blanc is back, investigating another murder mystery with a star-studded cast that includes Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Katheryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, and more. Johnson’s Knives Out was a significant Thanksgiving hit in 2019, earning $41.4 million in 3,361 theaters over the five-day weekend and $165.4 million domestically. Netflix paid big money for two sequels, although opening in only 600 theaters means those who can’t wait to stream the movie on Netflix over Christmas will have to seek out where it’s playing.
Although Glass Onion’s theatrical release is getting far more high-profile ads than most Netflix films, we may not want to hold our breath for any box office reporting from the streamer. We also shouldn’t be too shocked if the anticipated sequel does better than some of the other movies in far more theaters. I’m projecting it to make between $10 and 12 million in its first five days.
One of those movies opening in more theaters is Sony’s Navy fighter pilot drama, Devotion, starring super-hot actor, Jonathan Majors, as well as Glenn Powell, who had a key supporting role in Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick over the summer. Being that the highest-grossing movie of 2022 also involved fighter pilots could potentially benefit Devotion, directed by J.D. Dillard (Stealth). Despite opening in more than 3,000 theaters, it’s hard to imagine that Devotion will make more than $15 million over the five-day extended holiday, partially because it’s not a family film persé, but also, it hasn’t generated as much buzz as the $700 million-plus-grossing Maverick, despite any similarities.
Expanding nationwide after this past weekend’s limited release is U.A. Releasing’s Bones and All, directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Taylor Russell (Escape Room), Timothée Chalamet (Dune), and Oscar winner Mark Rylance. This one is a road trip love story involving cannibalism, based on Camille DeAngelis’s 2015 novel, and there probably couldn’t be stranger counter-programming to the more commercial films.
Bones may be a good choice for 20-something moviegoers looking for something to see if Glass Onion isn’t playing in their area, but it’s also not exactly the type of fare that does well over Thanksgiving. Regardless, U.A Releasing will release it into 2,600 theaters, and it’s likely going to struggle to make $10 million in its first five days. (Read J.Don Birnam’s review of the film over at Below the Line.)
Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is getting a much more moderate nationwide release than once expected, reportedly into 600 theaters, similar to Glass Onion. From the past few weeks in limited release, it’s looking like Spielberg’s autobiographical drama may be a tougher sell even in New York and L.A., so we’ll have to see if the rest of the country is more interested in it. I’m thinking it will end up somewhere in the $7 to 8 million range for the five-day weekend.
Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.net, The Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film Journal, The New York Daily News, Den of Geek, and other places.