UPDATED, Saturday AM: Black Friday worked in exhibition’s favor, with ticket sales for the top ten movies seeing an average spike of +90% between Thanksgiving and yesterday. Even in pre-pandemic times, it’s always been a challenge for box office analysts to crunch five-day projections; they’re either too low or too high, and the real story begins to happen on a day like yesterday, and certainly today, with family matinees.
Disney’s latest Thanksgiving animated movie, Encanto, is now looking at $11M for Friday, +90% from Thanksgiving, on its way to a 5-day between $39M-$42M. The movie’s 3-day is estimated at $28.7M.
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MGM/UAR’s House of Gucci, the second wide entry of the holiday, made $5.7M yesterday, +69% from Thanksgiving, which now puts its 3-day at $14.9M and 5-day at $22.5M. The film has great exits at four stars on Screen Engine/Comscore’sPostTrak, an 82% positive score, and 60% definite recommend, providing plenty of runway into the year-end holiday.
Females turned out at 60%, giving the film an 84% positive, with men at 40% with 80% positive. Close to 40% of the audience said they came out for Lady Gaga, while 32% cited the ensemble cast of Adam Driver, Al Pacino, and Jared Leto, while 34% were intrigued by the Gucci family murder plot. House of Gucci played best in the larger city markets, especially in the West.
Sure, absolutely, we’ve seen better Thanksgivings at the box office, and this year’s estimated 5-day total of $145.5M isn’t even in Comscore’s top 10 for the holiday, off 45% from 2019’s $263.4M, when Frozen 2 was on the marquee.
The media, including myself, are dying, just dying to go back to the old ways of analyzing box office gross receipts, declaring immediate bombs, accusing studios of over-or-under spending, and the whole WTF of it all.
But we need to remember, the domestic box office is still being graded on a curve, because, hello, we’re still in a pandemic, and there’s still headlines of new variants every day, with movie theaters checking vax cards in box office capitals like Los Angeles and NYC (remember, some people refuse to be vaccinated) and everyone still wearing masks.
Yesterday, the Dow dropped 900 points in its worst day from fears of the new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529. I’m convinced the moment the mask mandate is lifted and life is declared safe is when that older adult audience will come roaring back. Make that an abundance of moviegoers, particularly the crowd that doesn’t come on opening weekend.
But until then, House of Gucci is looking at a $20M+ 5-day, and that’s a victory worth celebrating, as 31% of its audience was over 45, the best B.O. result we’ve seen for an older audience film in the pandemic, which is very encouraging for this hesitant audience. The optics of this gross are worth a huge pat on the back to UAR.
So what if it cost $75M before P&A? What movies with stockpiled interest costs are actually profiting in their theatrical window in this hobbled global pandemic marketplace? To piss on them and say that they’re not is an unrealistic understanding about the current marketplace that we’re in, as foreign markets like China have theaters which are 20% closed, and so on. Few, if any movies, will profit in the theatrical window right now.
How about the media actually realizes that this year’s Thanksgiving 5-day for all films is +583% from 2020’s $21.3M when exhibition, in particular New York and LA, were closed? The 5-day debut of Croods: A New Age during that time was $14.7M, and the maximum theaters Universal could book then was 2,211. I think it’s fair to say we’re making up great ground, and we’ll continue to do so, especially with industry estimates seeing Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home as one of the top 5 openings for the month of December, with at least $100M.
Digest this: If it wasn’t for the success of Shang-Chi over Labor Day, we wouldn’t be here, especially with an October that racked up $638M. Studios would have pulled their movies if there was any sign that the audience wasn’t there, and exhibition would be the poorer for it.
More good news: The arthouse audience in LA and NYC were vibrant for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, which is easily shattering weekend screen average records of the last two years (as opposed to theater average) with $84,1K per screen from LA’s Regency Village and NYC’s Lincoln Square, Village East, and Alamo Brooklyn. That will result in a $336K 3-day. The latest from Anderson also charted big numbers, because each theater is playing one screen in 70MM. Exits are very good here at 87% positive and 73% definite recommend, with a 90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Close to 70% of the audience were college grads, with a diversity make-up of 68% Caucasian, 17% Latino or Hispanic, 11% Asian/other and 4% Black.
And let’s not forget the box office at the end of the day is about product. Remember, Top Gun: Maverick? That Paramount movie was last scheduled to play Thanksgiving. And what a different holiday at the box office this would be if the film was booked in theaters. Even with Spider-Man: No Way Home expected to vacuum up dollars next month, I’m sure December will be a little light. Why? There aren’t as many new wide releases like previous holidays. Paramount delayed Top Gun 2 to Memorial Day weekend 2022 because they’re waiting for the billions of it all they can reap from a fully recovered global marketplace. Encanto, if you think about it, was arguably meant to play second fiddle to Top Gun 2.
And lastly, before Disney CEO Bob Chapek makes another excuse to send a theatrical release to Disney+ on an exclusive or hybrid basis, declaring that families haven’t returned to the box office: Um, they have, and it’s just that Encanto is splitting the box office this weekend with another strong family title, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which continues to close the gap over 3-days and 5-days with the animated movie, seeing an estimated $25.3M over 3-days and $36.3M over 5 days.
Maybe Encanto was meant to be released in another season, such as summer or early winter? Maybe Pixar’s Turning Red would have been more mass-appealing? Despite the marketing machine behind Encanto, it appears as though the dollar reaction (as opposed to the audience reaction) at the box office seems to think it’s Coco all over again at Thanksgiving, and that the materials didn’t distinguish or set Encanto apart enough from its predecessor. At the end of the day, Encanto has more songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda to keep audiences humming as they leave the theater.
Original animated movies are difficult to open at the box office, but Disney has traditionally been able to beat that hurdle over Thanksgiving, whether it’s Moana supercharged by Dwayne Johnson’s voiceover and marketing, great soundtrack, and Polynesian environment we haven’t seen before in a Disney animated film, to Frozen, with its story about sisterhood, further enhanced with a timeless showstopper anthem (“Let It Go”).
However, online chatter here for Encanto, according to RelishMix, “picked apart elements of the film regarding ‘representation’ by a South American country. Mentions are positive overall for a protagonist who’s not a princess, but a girl in glasses.” Of those who showed up for Encanto, they love it, which will help its buzz, with the pic’s PostTrak scores being 88% positive, 4 1/2 stars, and a 70% recommend for the general crowd with kids under 12 giving it 93% positive, and also 70% recommend. Encanto played best in the West and Southwest and saw a huge Latino and Hispanic turnout of 59%, with 19% Caucasian, 10% Black, 8% Asian, and 5% other. Suburban markets also posted good sales as is typical for a Disney release. Of those showing up 33% were women over 25 (who gave Encanto its best grade at 96%), 29% women under 25, 22% men over 25 and 15% men under 25. Forty percent of the audience came because it was a Disney animated title.
So, how thankful are we for the Thanksgiving box office this year?
To repeat ourselves, it’s about product, and coming in low is Sony/Screen Gems/Constantin’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is seeing $5.3M for the 3-day and $8.85M for the five-day at 2,803 locations. Despite how many times the market has been flooded with a Resident Evil title over the last near two decades, this dark reboot, which looked to go back to the videogame’s roots, isn’t scoring. Exits are bad here after a C+ CinemaScore, with 61% positive on PostTrak, 48% recommend. Those who dared show up were men at 64%, with 68% between 18-34. Diversity demos were 36% Latino and Hispanic, 30% Caucasian, 19% Black and 15% Asian/other. Best markets were in the West and the South.
Heading into the weekend, RelishMix noticed mixed-to-negative chatter about Raccoon City, reporting it as being “Cautious, skeptical” from fans who are a “super critical horror audience questioning the logic, the look of the effects, and comparing the film to the game’s CGI. Also, fans are missing Milla Jovovich in this incarnation. Tough crowd.”
1.) Encanto (Dis) 3,980 theaters, Wed $7.5M/Thurs $5.8M/Fri $11M/ 3-day $28.7M, 5-day $39M-$42M/Wk 1
2.) Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) 4,315 theaters, Wed $5.4M (+16% from Tuesday)/Thurs $5.3M/Fri $9.75M/3-day: $25.3M (-43%)/5-day $36.3M/Total: $88.8M/Wk 2
3.) House of Gucci (UAR/MGM) 3,441 theaters, Wed. $4.2M/Thurs $3.39M/Fri $5.7M/3-day $14.9M, 5-day $22.5M/Wk 1
4.) Eternals (Dis) 3,165 (-890) theaters, Wed $1.9M (+12%)/Thurs $1.6M/Fri $3.1M/3-day $7.7M (-30%), 5-day $11M/Total $150.3M/Wk 4
5.)Resident Evil: Raccoon City (Sony) 2,803 theaters, Wed. $2.5M/Thurs $1M/Fri $2M/3-day $5.3M, 5-day $8.85M/Wk 1
6.) Clifford the Big Red Dog (Par) 3,331 (-297) theaters, Wed $1.3M (0%)/Thurs $725K/Fri $1.96M/3-day $4.97M (-39%)/5-day $7M/Total $42.9M/Wk 3
7.)King Richard (WB) 3,302 theaters, Wed $639K (-7%)/Thurs $805K/Fri $1.3M/3-day $3.3M (-33%)/5-day $4.8M/Total $11.45M/Wk 2
8.) Dune (WB/Leg) 1,312 (-1,155) theaters, Wed $493K (+3%)/Thurs $400K/Fri $800K/3-day $2M (-29%), 5-day $3M/ Total $102.2M/Wk 6
9.) No Time to Die (UAR) 1,342 (-1,065) theaters, Wed $366K (-13%)/Thurs $427K/Fri $708K/3-day $1.78M (-36%), 5-day: $2.57M/Total $158.1M/Wk 8
10.) Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) 1,537 (-693) theaters, Wed $335K (+2%), Thurs $285K/Fri $605K/, 3-day $1.57M (-46%), 5-day: $2.2M/ Total $209.5M/Wk 9
11.) Belfast (Foc) 1,128 (+544) theaters, Wed $170K (+36%),Thurs $150K/ Fri $360K/3-day $970K (+3%), 5-day: $1.29M/Total $4.98M/Wk 3
Licorice Pizza (UAR) 4 screens, Fri $141K, 3-day $336K/Wk 1
UPDATED, Friday AM: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, films in the top 10 dropped by an average of -23% from Wednesday. Moviegoing is expected to surge today on Black Friday, a gift the entire exhibition industry will gladly take after a 2020 pandemic that brought it to its knees.
Disney is reporting $5.8M, -23% from Wednesday, for its second day of Encanto, though many rivals believe the movie actually made more; at least $6M. If there’s any major fluctuation to the movie’s 5-day outcome, that will become evident today and tomorrow. For now, the Jared Bush, Bryon Howard and Charise Castro Smith-directed movie is looking at a 3-day of $32.9M and 5-day of $46.6M.
iSpot reports that Disney spent $14M in U.S. TV ads for Encanto, a campaign that generated 1.26 billion impressions. Top TV networks running Encanto spots were Disney Channel (12.1%), ABC (11.0%), Hallmark (8.0%), Nick (7.6%) and FOX (7.0%) across such shows as NFL games, Big City Greens, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, SpongeBob SquarePants and college football.
Of all the movies that had the best holds in the top 10 on Thanksgiving day, it was Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife which made $5.3M, -2% from its Wednesday result. Even though Disney isn’t crushing it like they typically do over Thanksgiving with an animated movie, between Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Encanto, you can’t say families aren’t going to the movie. The Jason Reitman-directed movie’s second weekend now stands at $26.6M, -40%, with a 5-day of $37.2M, and running total of $90M, which puts it 4% ahead of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters through ten days, natch, the holiday helping.
MGM/UAR’s House of Gucci saw $3.39M in day 2, -19% from its opening day on its way to a revised $15.4M 3-day, $23M 5-day. iSpot says UAR spent $12.8M on TV spots for House of Gucci on such networks as NBC, Fox, CBS, the Paramount Network and Lifetime, on such shows as NFL games, Friends reruns, Yellowstone, The Voice, and the World Series.
Sony/Screen Gems/Constantin’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City saw an estimated $1M in 5th place, -60% from Wednesday, for a revised and lowered 3-day and 5-day of $4.58M and $8M. Note, Sony always saw this poorly reviewed movie from audiences and critics between $8M-$10M over 5-days.
Seeing a surge between Wednesday and Thanksgiving was Warner Bros.’ Will Smith drama King Richard, which climbed 26% with a holiday take of $805K.
1.) Encanto (Dis) 3,980 theaters, Wed $7.5M/Thurs $5.8M/ 3-day $32.9M, 5-day $46.6M/Wk 1
2.) Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) 4,315 theaters, Wed $5.4M (+16% from Tuesday)/Thurs $5.3M/3-day: $26.6M (-40%)/5-day $37.2M/Total: $90M/Wk 2
3.) House of Gucci (UAR/MGM) 3,441 theaters, Wed. $4.2M/Thurs $3.39M/3-day $15.4M, 5-day $23M/Wk 1
4.) Eternals (Dis) 3,165 (-890) theaters, Wed $1.9M (+12%)/Thurs $1.6M/3-day $7.4M (-33%), 5-day $10.7M/Total $150.1M/Wk 4
5.)Resident Evil: Raccoon City (Sony) 2,803 theaters, Wed. $2.5M/Thurs $1M/3-day $4.58M, 5-day $8M/Wk 1
6.) Clifford the Big Red Dog (Par) 3,331 (-297) theaters, Wed $1.3M (0%)/Thurs $725K/3-day $3.6M (-55%)/5-day $5.67M/Total $41.6M/Wk 3
7.)King Richard (WB) 3,302 theaters, Wed $639K (-7%)/Thurs $805K/3-day $3.6M (-33%)/5-day $5M/Total $11.65M/Wk 2
8.) Dune (WB/Leg) 1,312 (-1,155) theaters, Wed $493K (+3%)/Thurs $400K/3-day $2.26M (-29%), 5-day $3.2M/ Total $102.4M/Wk 6
9.) No Time to Die (UAR) 1,342 (-1,065) theaters, Wed $366K (-13%)/Thurs $427K/3-day $2M (-26%), 5-day: $2.8M/Total $158.4M/Wk 8
10.) Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) 1,537 (-693) theaters, Wed $335K (+2%), Thurs $285K, 3-day $1.52M (-48%), 5-day: $2.2M/ Total $209.5M/Wk 9
11.) Belfast (Foc) 1,128 (+544) theaters, Wed $170K (+36%),Thurs $150K/ 3-day $800K (-15%), 5-day: $1.1M/Total $4.8M/Wk 3
UPDATED, Thanksgiving AM: Disney’s Encanto opened to $7.5M on Wednesday, which isn’t the best of starts from one of the studio’s animated movies over Thanksgiving. The pic’s result is even under one of Disney’s low-grossing titles over the holiday, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, which saw a $9.76M Wednesday for a $39.1M opening weekend and a $55.4M five-day in 2015.
The industry outlook here for Encanto is $26.1M over three days and $38.6M over five. The pic’s opening day includes Tuesday’s previews. The movie is on an exclusive theatrical window and is Disney’s the third animated film this year to be released that way versus a hybrid in-home day-and-date strategy. The previous two were 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong and DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed.
What might change these estimates? Or, for that matter, any of this weekend’s estimates during the pandemic? The answer is: if Thanksgiving, which typically is a down day at the box office, performs better than expected, and if Black Friday, a vibrant day for moviegoing, soars. Industry estimates figure that the five-day holiday frame for all movies will ring up $140.1M, down by 46% from 2019’s five-day Thanksgiving of $258.5M, when Disney’s Frozen 2 ruled.
Here’s what I will say: Encanto is a film to be discovered, evident in its A CinemaScore. Once inside, audiences will realize it’s up there in the Moana and Frozen pantheon, boosted by a rousing soundtrack from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Some average joe moviegoers may think in the marketing of Disney’s Encanto that it’s Coco all over again, and it definitely is not. Encanto is a female driven story about a girl who is trying to ward bad luck off from her gifted family in Colombia, while Coco is Mexico-set, about a boy’s connections with his family’s souls in the Land of the Dead, as he confronts their ban of music in his quest to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer. Expect Encanto to be a sleeper for the remainder of the year, a movie that families gradually go to; the pic having better optics than Good Dinosaur with 92% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes vs. Good Dinosaur‘s 76% certified fresh.
You can’t say that families aren’t going to the box office this Thanksgiving: Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife looks to rank second for the holiday stretch, having made an estimated $5.4M on Wednesday, +16% from Tuesday on its way to a $23.6M second weekend, -46%, $34.2M 5-day and $86.7M running total by Sunday, which will be about 1% ahead of Paul Feig’s 2016 Ghostbusters through ten days. True, it’s older skewing next to Encanto and more guys, but if you’re a family of five deciding where to spend your money in inflated economic times, it’s between Ghostbusters: Afterlife or Encanto.
In third, UAR and MGM’s House of Gucci is posting a solid result for an adult-driven movie with a long running time during the pandemic with a $4.2M opening day. Note that Ridley Scott’s previous movie, The Last Duel, which ran 2 hours and 32 minutes (to Gucci’s 2 hours and 37 minutes) posted an opening weekend of $4.75M and stopped making money stateside at $10.8M. House of Gucci‘s opening frame will beat the entire gross of the filmmaker’s previous title with a projected $14.3M 3-day, $21.7M 5-day. All of this is great news as the movie begins its ascent during awards season. Moviegoers seem to enjoy the Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Jared Leto and Adam Driver drama thriller more than the critics with a B+ CinemaScore and 88% Rotten Tomatoes audience score. The brow wrinkles as to why the critics embraced Last Duel more over House of Gucci: The former was the portrayal of a rape from three different standpoints, two of them being men and the movie really turned off awards season voters. Critics gave Last Duel 85% certified fresh, while they’ve been harder on House of Gucci at 62% fresh. Nonetheless, there’s a divide between critics and audiences on House of Gucci, and it appears moviegoers are overpowering.
Sony/Screen Gems/Constantin’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City posted an opening day of $2.5M at 2,803 theaters with an outlook of $7.7M over 3-days, and 5 day of $11.9M. Previous Sony genre films during the pandemic opened as follows: Don’t Breathe 2 $10.6M 3-day in mid-August, and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions debuted to $8.8M over 3-days in mid-July. Raccoon City received a C+ CinemaScore, which is in line with the 2012 edition Resident Evil: Retribution, but below the Bs most of the previous Milla Jovovich Resident Evil movies received.
Box office analytics corp EntTelligence reports the following Wednesday admissions, including Tuesday previews: Encanto – 680k, House of Gucci – 345k, Resident Evil: Raccoon City – 225k, while Ghostbusters: Afterlife pulled in 480K.
1.) Encanto (Dis) 3,980 theaters, Wed $7.5M, 3-day $26.1M, 5-day $38.6M/Wk 1
2.) Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) 4,315 theaters, Wed $5.4M (+16% from Tuesday)/3-day: $23.6M (-46%)/5-day $34.2M/Total: $86.7M/Wk 2
3.) House of Gucci (UAR/MGM) 3,441 theaters, Wed. $4.2M/3-day $14.3M, 5-day $21.7M/Wk 1
4.)Resident Evil: Raccoon City (Sony) 2,803 theaters, Wed. $2.5M/3-day $7.7M, 5-day $11.9M/Wk 1
5.) Eternals (Dis) 3,165 (-890) theaters, Wed $1.9M (+12%)/3-day $7.4M (-33%), 5-day $10.8M/Total $150M/Wk 4
6.) Clifford the Big Red Dog (Par) 3,331 (-297) theaters, Wed $1.3M (0%)/3-day $5.8M (-28%)/5-day $8.3M/Total $44.2M/Wk 3
7.)King Richard (WB) 3,302 theaters, Wed $639K (-7%)/ 3-day $3M (-44%)/5-day $4.3M/Total $10.95M/Wk 2
8.) Dune (WB/Leg) 1,312 (-1,155) theaters, Fri $493K (+3%)/3-day $2.2M (-29%), 5-day $3.1M/ Total $102.3M/Wk 6
9.) No Time to Die (UAR) 1,342 (-1,065) theaters, Wed $366K (-13%)/3-day $1.66M (-40%), 5-day: $2.38M/Total $158M/Wk 8
10.) Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) 1,537 (-693) theaters, Wed $335K (+2%), 3-day $1.52M (-48%), 5-day: $2.2M/ Total $209.5M/Wk 9
11.) Belfast (Foc) 1,128 (+544) theaters, Wed $170K (+36%), 3-day $820K (-13%), 5-day: $1.1M/Total $4.8M/Wk 3
Wednesday AM Update: Disney’s animated movie Encanto received a $1.5 million start Tuesday off showtimes starting at 6 p.m., as the pic opens today in 3,980 theaters.
The movie, which features a soundtrack from Emmy-, Grammy- and Tony-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda, is expected to make $35M-$40M over the next five days. So far, Encanto is 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes off 67 reviews with a 95% audience rating from 100-plus verified ratings.
Among family movies during the pandemic with previews, Encanto is ahead of Universal’s The Boss Baby: Family Business, which did $1.3M on a Thursday afternoon starting at 4 p.m.; that pic however was also day-and-date on Peacock and theaters. Boss Baby 2 grossed $7.85M on its opening day. Working in Encanto‘s favor is 80% of K-12 schools off today, heading into 100% off over the next two days for Thanksgiving.
Among Tuesday previews for Disney’s original animated movies over Thanksgiving, all pre-pandemic, Encanto is ahead of Pixar’s 2015 The Good Dinosaur, which did $1.3M on Tuesday night before $9.76M Wednesday, and $55.4M over five days. Encanto is also ahead of Frozen, though that’s not really a like-for-like: That movie made $1.1M off 10 p.m. shows and was in release at one theater, the El Capitan, five days before it opened wide in 2013. Moana and Coco had Tuesday previews before Turkey day of $2.6M and $2.3M, respectively, but no one is expecting Encanto to reach those opening heights.
Listen to my conversation with Miranda below:
MGM/United Artists Releasing’s House of Gucci also fared well Tuesday, making $1.3M off 7 p.m. showtimes. The Ridley Scott movie, which is hoping that Lady Gaga’s fans shows up, is expected to clear in the mid- to high-teens over the five-day holiday. House of Gucci, which has a running time of 2 hours and 37 minutes, is 66% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences so far love it better at 90%.
Black Friday is typically one of the highest-grossing days of the year, and it will be interesting to see if there’s any spillover of cash from the event movies into adult ones like House of Gucci.
Sony/Screen Gems/Constantin’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City had previews that started at 3 p.m. and made $935,000 from 2,352 theaters. The pic looks to clear low teens over five days per industry estimates, but Sony sees $8M-$10M. Resident Evil‘s Tuesday preview is just under Don’t Breathe 2‘s $965K Thursday preview, which resulted in a $4.39M opening day and $10.6M opening weekend. Both Don’t Breathe 2 and Resident Evil are rated R.
Among films in regular release, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife led Tuesday with an estimated $4.7M, up 23% over Monday, taking its five-day total to $52.5M.
Disney/Marvel’s Eternals posted $1.5M, +5% over Monday, for a running total of $139M in its third week. Further boosting the MCU brand, Hawkeye drops its first two episodes on Disney+ today.
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