I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend and Thanksgiving meals! Over the five-day break (Wed 11/24 to Sun 11/28), the box-office cooked up $139.5M – with $94.9M of that earned during the three-day weekend. Despite falling short from pre-covid norms, the Thanksgiving weekend offers three highlights. First, that five-day total is seven times better than Thanksgiving 2020 – back when many theaters were shuttered, when the only box-office pull was The Croods: A New Age, and before it was possible to vaccinate. Now – even with the potentially more contagious “omicron” variant looming overhead – vaccinated moviegoers still feel safe in theaters.
Which brings me to the second highlight: with kids increasingly getting vaccinated, films like Disney’s Encanto are giving a significant lift to family moviegoing. The first non-Pixar Disney animation to debut exclusively in theaters since 2019’s Frozen II – took the lead this weekend with a $40.3M 5-day ($27M 3-day). That marks the best open for an animated film since the pandemic began. The PG film about a magical Colombian family – accompanied by original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda – practically doubled the 5-day starts of previous family animations: The Boss Baby: Family Business ($22M) and The Addams Family 2 ($19.4M). Well ahead of its only direct competitor – Universal’s Sing 2 (12/22) – and sporting stellar reviews (92% on Rotten Tomatoes, “A” Cinemascore), Encanto should hold well through the end of the year.
Finally, the third highlight. For months, theaters have struggled to find a film that resonates with the older moviegoing crowd that is not a limited release. That was true until MGM’s House of Gucci came to theaters this weekend and pulled in a $21.8M 5-day ($14.2M 3-day) weekend. Starring the mega-talented Lady Gaga and well-known actors including Adam Driver, Jared Leto, and Al Pacino – the film scored the best opening for an adult drama in the last two years. Reported by the studio, 59% of ticket-holders was female and 45% were between the ages of 18-35. Also, 34% of the audience was over 45 years old – one of the best turnouts for that age group that we have seen since the pandemic.
Moviegoing is back – but as always – it is the product that will drive moviegoers back to the theater. Families came for Encanto, and older moviegoers came for House of Gucci. October’s massive $640M haul was thanks to tentpole films like Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time to Die, and Halloween Kills. So I won’t spend too much time explaining why this weekend’s other new release, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City only mustered up $8.8M over the 5-day. With terrible ratings, the new entry did little to convince moviegoers to come back for another Resident Evil. Moviegoers seem done with the franchise, with the previous film, 2017’s The Final Chapter, also opening to a low $13.6M.
Meanwhile, this year’s most anticipated title Spider-Man: No Way Home is flexing its box office potential! Tickets for the upcoming Marvel blockbuster went on sale midnight 11/29, and subsequently crashed several movie ticket sites. This level of demand amongst fans has been compared to the pre-sales of Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. Amid the crashes on ticketing sites like Atom Tickets, Fandango and Movietickets.com, but also movie theater sites like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal – fans have been quick to meme the Cyber Monday rush for tickets as “Spider-Monday”. Notably, there are tickets that are already being resold on eBay for as high as $25,000 (*heavy sigh*).
Analysts were already optimistic about Spidey becoming the first film to debut at over $100M during the pandemic, and this high demand for tickets pushes the ceiling of possibility even higher.
Before then, West Side Story and National Champions will try to reel moviegoers into the theater on Friday 12/10. As we’ve seen in the past, there are no new wide-releases for the post-Thanksgiving weekend, this Friday 12/03.