After bringing in $8.1 million on Thanksgiving, the superhero sequel exploded on Friday, adding $18.2 million more in ticket sales to its haul. “Wakanda Forever” is the only resounding box office success story this season, on target to push beyond a $350 million domestic gross through Sunday.
Overall, it’s been a fairly dire weekend for theaters. The five-day frame is projected to net $125.4 million in ticket sales across all releases, down 12% from last year’s Thanksgiving weekend — which had the additional handicap of arriving during a period of heightened COVID-19 precautions. This year’s crop of films aren’t connecting as strongly as offerings last year like “Encanto” and “House of Gucci.”‘
Case in point: Disney’s new release “Strange World” netted $5.2 million on Friday, pushing its domestic total to $11.8 million. That’s a terrible kickoff for the animated film, opening in a prime holiday window with kids out of school and weighted by an $180 million production budget to recoup.
“Strange World” received solid enough nods from critics, with Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge writing, “The world may be super-weird, but those who populate it are some of the most realistic and well rounded that Walt Disney Animation Studios has ever presented.” Audiences are only modestly enthused, with the film receiving a “B” CinemaScore. That’s not encouraging for the film’s prospects moving into December.
Theaters may be receiving a stealth boost from “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” which Netflix has released in approximately 600 theaters for a limited one-week run. Even with the streamer limiting supply and taking its first stab at marketing a major theatrical engagement, the film seems to be performing impressively, with some competition predicting a silent third-place finish for the weekend. Netflix does not report theatrical grosses.
The on-the-books bronze winner for the weekend will be Sony’s aviation drama “Devotion,” starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell. The period film is projecting a $9.2 million total for the five-day frame.
Searchlight Pictures’ “The Menu” is still chugging, earning $2 million on Friday. The culinary horror-comedy is expected to land in fourth place.
Warner Bros.’ DC feature “Black Adam” looks to round out the top five, adding $4.5 million in its sixth weekend of release. That’d still be enough to land above two new awards hopefuls: United Artists Releasing and MGM’s “Bones and All” and Universal’s “The Fabelmans.” Neither film is making much noise in their expansions, with “Bones and All” projecting $3.461 million from 2,727 locations over the five-day frame. “The Fabelmans” has a stronger per-theater average, projecting $3.1 million from 638 locations.