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Thanksgiving Box Office Battle: ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ to Top ‘Creed II,’ ‘Robin Hood’

Creed 2 Ralph Breaks the Internet
Courtesy of Barry Wetcher/MGM Pictures, Larry Horricks

A boxing heavyweight champion and an outlaw with a bow and arrow will be no match for a video game baddie and his trusty sidekick as “Ralph Breaks the Internet” looks to dominate a busy Thanksgiving weekend at the domestic box office.

Disney’s animated sequel is expected to earn between $67 million and $77 million over the five-day period, which would easily best fellow newcomers “Creed II” and “Robin Hood.” The trio of wide releases are all getting a head start on the weekend by opening on Wednesday. Previews begin on Tuesday night.

“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” the adventure that follows video game villain Ralph and his best pal Vanellope, will debut across more than 3,900 theaters, the majority of which will include 3D screens. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman are reprising their voice roles in the follow-up, which looks to get a solid head start on the first film’s $49 million launch. “Wreck It Ralph” landed an Oscar nomination in 2012 and racked up $471 million worldwide. Like its predecessor, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” carries a substantial $175 million production budget. While reviews don’t necessarily sway family crowds, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” has deemed a worthy successor to a highly praised Disney cartoon and carries a promising 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Families frequently hit up the multiplexes over the Thanksgiving holiday, so it’s no surprise the Mouse House has lead the holiday box office the past two years. “Coco” topped domestic charts when it hit theaters on Thanksgiving last year, and “Moana” secured the box office crown in 2016. If all goes to plan, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” should complete the trifecta.

While Warner Bros. hopes “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” will also conjure younger audiences as the latest entry in the “Harry Potter” spinoff saga enters its sophomore outing, the other new offerings are targeting a slightly older crowd.

For moviegoers looking to leaving the kids at home, there’s MGM’s “Creed II,” the eighth installment in the “Rocky” film series that sees Michael B. Jordan step back into the ring as Donnie, the son of boxing legend Apollo Creed. The sports drama looks to be a knockout and could earn an impressive five-day total north of $45 million from 3,350 screens. The first “Creed” movie launched with $29 million over the three-day frame and went on to earn $109 million in North America. Sylvester Stallone returns as the legendary Rocky Balboa, and Tessa Thompson plays Donnie’s girlfriend. Ryan Coogler passed filmmaking duties to Steven Caple Jr., though the “Black Panther” director stayed on board to executive produce.

Then there’s “Robin Hood,” Lionsgate’s PG-13 take on the classic fairytale about the swashbuckling hero in green. Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx lead in the live-action adventure based on the kid’s bedtime story, which should make $15 million from over 2,700 venues over the five-day period. Leonardo DiCaprio co-produced the picture, which doesn’t have an official budget, but must have cost princely ransom. All that archery doesn’t come cheap.

That leaves Universal’s “Green Book,” which got a jump in limited release last weekend and earned $320,000 from 25 venues. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali star in the awards contender that could pull in another $8 million when it expands to 1,000 venues during the five-day holiday. The comedic drama centering on the unlikely friendship between a black concert pianist and his driver won the people’s choice award at the Toronto Film Festival and has since generated an A+ Cinemascore and 83% Rotten Tomatoes average.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight is releasing Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The absurdist period drama set in the early 18th century centers on the drama between two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) jockeying to be court favourites during the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). The awards-bait film has garnered raves since winning the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Another Oscar hopeful, Magnolia’s “Shoplifters,” is also hitting the specialty box office. The drama about an impoverished family living on the margins took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes and is Japan’s entry for best foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

This crowded Turkey Day fest should bring back solid receipts, but it might not be one for the record books. The five-day outing in 2013 still holds the best showing with “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Frozen,” and “Thor: The Dark World” carrying box office revenues to $294.2 million, according to Comscore.

“This year’s Thanksgiving frame has as strong enough slate of films, consisting of both solid newcomers and strong holdovers, to ensure that this will rank among the most successful Turkey Day moviegoing periods on record,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore.