Nov 27, 2022 3:52 pm
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is still number one and “Strange World” tanked, but here’s what’s important: The three-day Thanksgiving box office weekend came to $95 million. In 2o19, this weekend’s total was $181 million; in 2018, $216 million. For all of 2019, only four weekends fell short of $100 million.
The last time a Thanksgiving weekend grossed under $100 million was… never? Nearly 30 years ago, Thanksgiving 1994 saw a three-day weekend of $94.5 million… when ticket prices averaged $4.08.
James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) opens December 16 and (as we’ve said too often) it can’t come soon enough. But if we’ve learned one thing this year, an occasional massive hit will not salvage what continues to be a troubled theatrical marketplace.
Dominant distributor Disney will take the crown by a narrower margin for 2022. The cause is helped by taking the two top slots at this holiday, normally a major achievement. But the asterisk accompanying this “triumph” is huge.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney) amassed nearly half the weekend’s take with $46 million. That’s subpar for Thanksgiving weekend as a #1; many years saw two films gross over $40 million for the three days.
Courtesy of Disney
At #2, Disney’s animated “Strange World” is something like an unparalleled disaster. Forget the disappointment of Pixar’s “Lightyear” in June, with its $50 million opening weekend. “Strange World” is less than $19 million over five days on one of the year’s best release dates.
Its budget has been reported as anywhere from $130 million-$180 million. The marketing expense might exceed its ultimate domestic take (which, particularly with expected by-Christmas streaming, could fall short of $40 million).
By anything other than the standards of 2018’s “Black Panther” (and theaters’ need for films to exceed beyond all expectations), “Wakanda” continues to perform well. Through its third weekend, it is just under $370 million. It’s on track to hit $500 million domestic, with play through Christmas. That would compare to $700 million previously (closer to $850 million at today’s prices), but also position it as #2 for the year — at least until “Avatar” opens. Decent results, but theaters today need more than that.
Theaters would have loved a wide release for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Netflix hasn’t publicly released any grosses per their normal practice. Sources suggest they have whispered estimates of $9.2 million for three days, $13.3 million so far. Studios have the resources to do accurate estimates on their own, with no independent verification. What our sources say — around $8.75 million for three days, $12.5 million for five — could be a closer estimate.
That’s in 696 theaters, in most cases single screens, for a PTA of over $12,500. That’s excellent. It was good enough for #3, and a bonanza for theaters playing with a deal that reportedly saw theaters pay far less film rental. It’s a shame that this will play for only one week. It remains to be seen if for the streamer there isn’t method to the madness.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
“Glass Onion” has wide appeal, particularly with older (35+) viewers. Its success likely took a toll on other films hoping to attract adults. Among these is “The Fabelmans” (Universal), playing in slightly fewer theaters but attracting only about a quarter as many viewers. Expectations for its appeal were below normal for a Spielberg film, but it might end up doing not much more than half of last year’s disappointing “West Side Story,” which got to $38 million. That is disconcerting.
Two other wide openers disappointed. Sony is releasing the independently produced Korean War drama “Devotion” with “Maverick” costar Glen Powell. Made for a reported $90 million, it grossed 10 percent of that for five days. Military-themed films often over perform; the date might have been an issue, but more likely is the general gross malaise.
Standing above the storm remains “Black Adam” (Warner Bros. Discovery). The DC Comic Dwayne Johnson-starrer has had a more-than-credible run, coming in at #6 and falling only 27 percent with its PVOD release last week. It stands at $163 million domestic.
Searchlight’s “The Menu,” again with older appeal, dropped 42 percent in its second weekend to come in #5 with $5.2 million. Though not a breakout result, the film could remain afloat into Christmas.
The weekend represented 52 percent of the unadjusted gross from 2019. Buttressed by the first two weekends of “Wakanda,” the four-week rolling comparison to three years ago still sits at 92 percent.
The Top 10 (Fri-Sun)
1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney) Week 3; Last week #1
$45,900,000 (-31%) in 4,258 (-138) theaters (5 day total: $64,000,000); PTA (per theater average): $10,780,000; Cumulative: $367,671,000
2. Strange World (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 65; Est. budget: $135-180 million
$11,900,000 in 4,174 theaters (5 day total: $); PTA: $2,581; Cumulative: $18,600,000
3. Glass Onion (Netflix) NEW – Metacritic: 81; Est. budget: $40 million (+significantly higher acquisition cost)
$(est.) 8,750,000 in 696 theaters (5 day total: est. $12,500,000); PTA: $12,572; Cumulative: $(est.) 12,500,000
4. Devotion (S0ny) NEW – Metacritic: 66; Est. budget: $90 million
$6,000,000 in 3,405 theaters (5 day total: $9,000,000); PTA: $1,762; Cumulative: $9,000,000
5. The Menu (Searchlight) Week 2; Last weekend #2
$5,200,000 (-42%) in 3,228 (+17) theaters (5 day total: $7,344,000); PTA: $1,611; Cumulative: $18,670,000
6. Black Adam (WBD) Week 6; Last weekend #4; also on PVOD
$3,350,000 (-27%) in 2,664 (-708) theaters (5 day total: $4,575,000); PTA: $1,258; Cumulative: $162,973,000
7. The Fabelmans (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #15
$2,220,000 (+2,374%) in 638 (+634) theaters (5 day total $3,100,000); PTA: $3,480; Cumulative: $3,430,000
8. Bones and All (United Artists) Week 2; Last weekend : $17
$2,206,000 (+1,723%) in 2,727 (+2,723) theaters (5 day total: $3,562,000); PTA: $809; Cumulative: $3,709,000
9. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) Week 6; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD
$1,850,000 (-42%) in 2,238 (-1,030) theaters (5 day total: 2,630,000); PTA: $827; Cumulative: $65,070,000
10. The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 (Fathom) Week 2; Last weekend #3
$1,586,000 (50%) in 609 (-1,430) theaters (5 day: $); PTA: $936; Cumulative: $13,450,000
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This Article is related to: Film and tagged Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Box Office, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Strange World
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