Thanksgiving should provide a hearty box office bounty for studios and exhibitors alike.
While Disney’s “Frozen 2” will easily dominate domestic charts again, a range of offerings are expected to drive big business during one of the busiest times of year for moviegoing. Newcomers Lionsgate’s murder mystery “Knives Out” and Universal’s romance drama “Queen and Slim” are getting a jump on the holiday, opening on Wednesday. Holdovers including Sony’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and Disney-Fox’s “Ford v Ferrari” should also continue to entice crowds.
For the fourth consecutive year, Disney will be the de facto choice for audiences and rule Thanksgiving at the box office. “Frozen 2” is expected to deliver another massive haul in its sophomore frame after launching with a record-setting $130 million in North America and $228 million overseas. The animated sequel could add $70 million to $80 million over the traditional weekend and as much as $100 million to $120 million during the five-day period. That would be a vital boost for the industry, since overall ticket sales in North America are down over 7% from 2018, according to Comscore.
Catering to relatives who might have more questionable morals, “Knives Out” is expected to make $20 million to $25 million from 3,300 theaters between Wednesday and Sunday. Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Brick”) directed the Agatha Christie-inspired whodunit about a family gathering that goes south when the patriarch (Christopher Plummer) dies after his 85th birthday party, leaving everyone a suspect.
The all-star cast includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis and Toni Collette. Lionsgate held early access screenings across the country last weekend, bringing in $2 million ahead of its nationwide launch. Since premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, “Knives Out” has generated stellar word-of-mouth and boasts a 96% average on Rotten Tomatoes. It carries a $40 million price tag.
Rounding out the weekend, “Queen and Slim,” starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, is expected to earn $10 million from 1,500 theaters over the extended holiday. Melina Matsoukas, the filmmaker behind Beyonce’s “Formation” music video, directed the film, while Lena Waithe wrote the script. Kaluuya and Turner-Smith portray a couple whose first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over for a minor traffic violation.
“‘Frozen 2’ is poised for a very strong Thanksgiving weekend, while Lionsgate’s ‘Knives Out’ will be a major factor as a perfectly counter-programmed alternative to ‘Frozen 2’ and ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,'” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Comscore.