While Thanksgiving is often a great time for studios to take advantage of the influx of moviegoers around holiday family gatherings, this was not a great year, even compared to last year’s mid-Covid weekend. Some have presumed it was due to more people travelling this year than in the past two years, but either way, few of the new releases did well.
This Past Weekend
Once again, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reigned over the box office with $64 million over the five-day extended holiday beginning on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The three-day take of $46 million is down just 32% from last weekend, and the Ryan Coogler superhero epic is now at $367.7 million domestically with another $307.9 million overseas for a global total of $675.6 million. The superhero movie is less than a week away from becoming one of the top three movies of 2022.
Walt Disney Animation, which generally has had such great success over the Thanksgiving holiday, had its first outright bomb in twenty years with Strange World, the new movie from the duo behind last year’s Raya and the Last Dragon. Disney released the animated film into 4,174 theaters, just behind Wakanda Forever, yet it still could only drum up a dismal $18.6 million over its first five days with $11.9 million over the three-day weekend. That was the second-worst Thanksgiving showing for the Mouse House since Treasure Planet, which made $16.6 million over the five-day weekend all the way back in 2002.
This weekend’s elephant in the room was Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which streamer Netflix released into 680 theaters on Friday, including its first release in the AMC and Regal theater chains. It was bound to do well with the success of Johnson’s Knives Out over Thanksgiving in 2019, but Netflix refused to report box office, leaving other sources to offer their own analysis and estimates, which ranged from $12 to 15 million for the five-day weekend. That would normally be enough to take third place, but Glass Onion is going to now be one of the few movies to ever do so well at the box office without making it official.
Sony Pictures used the holiday weekend to debut J.D. Dillard’s Devotion, starring Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) and Glenn Powell, a period flight pilot drama that should have gotten some interest from the success of the year’s highest-grossing blockbuster, Top Gun: Maverick (also starring Powell). Instead, it made just $6 million over the three-day weekend in 3,403 theaters and $9 million including Weds. and Thurs., which is enough for it to take third place, with Glass Onion not making its placement official.
Similarly, Mark Mylod’s dark comedy, The Menu, took fourth place with $5.2 million, down 42% from its opening weekend, with $18.7 million total domestic.
Warner Bros’ Black Adam took fifth place with $3.35 million over the three-day (down 25%), as it brought its domestic total to $163 million.
Both Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All and Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans expanded nationwide, following a limited release after each film’s respective festival run. The two movies were essentially neck-and-neck with The Fabelmans coming out slightly ahead for the three-day weekend with $2.22 million to Bones’ $2.21 but the latter coming out ahead with $3.6 million for the five days to Fabelmans’ $3.1 million. For context, Universal released The Fabelmans into just 638 theaters, over 2,000 fewer theaters than U.A. Releasing’s expansion of Bones and All.
Both of these movies may be dead in the water in terms of box office, but presumably, Universal is taking a similar approach as its eventual Oscar Best Picture winner, Green Book, by going with a slower rollout. Hopefully, it will work out in the long run, but it’s not a good look for one of America’s preeminent filmmakers.
|Rank||Entry||Distributor||Revenue||Theater Count||Total Revenue|
|1||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever||Walt Disney||$45,583,904||4,258||$367,471,452|
|2||Strange World||Walt Disney||$12,151,384||4,174||$18,855,156|
|3||Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery||Netflix||$9,200,000||696||$13,300,000|
|5||The Menu||Searchlight Pictures||$5,478,956||3,228||$18,944,605|
|6||Black Adam||Warner Bros.||$3,255,486||2,664||$162,836,860|
|8||Bones and All||United Artists||$2,258,562||2,727||$3,763,099|
|9||Ticket to Paradise||Universal||$1,863,860||2,238||$65,087,250|
Last Thanksgiving, Disney had better luck with its animated Encanto than it did this year with Strange World, but it was still on the lower end for Disney animated releases with $27.2 million over the three-day weekend and $40.6 million, including Wednesday and Thanksgiving. Part of that was due to COVID vaccines not being rolled out for the youngest of kids yet, but the movie would be streaming on Disney+ by Christmas, where it would eventually take off due to the popularity of the song, “Don’t Talk About Bruno.”
Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, starring Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, and Selma Hayak, took third place with $14.4 million and $22 million in its first five days, which wasn’t too bad for a prestige/awards type adult drama.
A genre film like Sony/Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was always going to be an outlier over Thanksgiving, but it outright bombed with $8.9 million for the five-day box office and $5.3 million over the three-day weekend.
PT Anderson’s Licorice Pizza was given a platform release into four theaters in New York and L.A. on Black Friday to bring in $345,000 or $86,300 per theater, which is generally better than most of this year’s fall platform releases.
It’s another weekend when very little will make much of a mark on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s unstoppable run. It shouldn’t have a problem winning its fourth weekend in a row with somewhere in the $20 million range.
Stranger Things star David Harbour leads Universal Pictures’ holiday genre film, Violent Night, which will open in over 3,500 theaters, making it the weekend’s only prominent new wide release. Universal’s Krampus opened with $16.3 million in 2015, but that was in a much better times when more people were going out to see movies. Violent Night may be targeting a similar audience, but it’s more likely to end up with $9 to 11 million, more than enough to knock Strange World out of second place.
The other moderate or semi-wide release is Crunchyroll’s The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie, another feature film based on a popular anime series. Crunchyroll hasn’t reported theater counts yet, making it tough to predict a number, but even in 1,500 to 2,000 theaters, it should be good to get into the top five with $4 to 5 million.
There are plenty of other limited offerings opening this weekend, as well, including Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, starring presumptive Oscar frontrunner, Brendan Fraser; the drama Spoiler Alert, which will expand nationwide next week; Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter from A24, starring Tilda Swinton in a dual role; and Apple is giving Antoine Fuqua’s slavery drama, Emancipation, starring Will Smith, a nominal limited release for Oscar qualification.
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.