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411 Box Office Report: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Rules Thanksgiving, Glass Onion Scores Big

November 27, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

To the surprise of no one, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continued its winning ways at the box office over Thanksgiving weekend. The MCU blockbuster reigned supreme with $64 million over the five-day weekend and $45.9 million over the traditional three-day weekend.

The weekend-to-weekend drop was a very solid 31%, especially considering the number of new movies at the box office. Granted, the new releases were all targeted more at other audiences, but Wakanda Forever is, like most MCU films, a four-quadrant movie which means it draws in audiences from every age and demo so there was still the chance of a larger drop. The film now has $367.7 million domestically and is up to $675.6 million worldwide, great numbers for the film. It is pacing a bit ahead of Doctor Strange & The Multiverse of Madness for the top-grossing MCU film of the year and should be able to finish out domestically with $450 million, perhaps higher.

Disney has less happy news with Strange World, which flopped with just $18.6 million over five days and $11.9 million over three. The adventure film reps Disney Animation’s lowest wide-release start since The Emperor’s New Groove started with $9.8 million all the way back in December of 2000. (We’re not counting Raya and the Last Dragon, which opened during the pandemic and also released on Disney+.)

Why did this animation effort fail? Chalk it up to relatively low awareness, a lack of buzz, and its fellow studio competition. Disney usually goes all out in promoting their films and traditionally puts a family-friendly film in the marketplace for the holiday – but in this case it already had one in Wakanda Forever, which families are going to see. That film overshadowed Strange World and the reviews (a 74% Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score) were solid but not enough for it to wrest back its audience.

This is all bad news for Disney, who will be losing up to $140 million on this film. The budget was a reported $135 million or higher, and there’s absolutely no chance it makes that back. The film added just $9.2 million overseas for a $27.8 million total. This one is expected to go to Disney+ in time for the holidays but it’s going down as a major loss for the studio, with a final domestic total of perhaps $50 million.

Coming in at #3 was Netflix’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The highly anticipated sequel to Knives Out scared up $13.3 million over five days and $9.4 million over three days. That may not sound like much – it’s a far cry from the first film’s $26.8 million start – but it’s important to note that the film opened in just 696 theaters. Netflix is releasing this in just enough theaters to build the hype and get an Oscar-qualifying run before it bows on the service next month.

If you’re not used to seeing Netflix in the box office, that’s because they rarely are. Netflix doesn’t report their numbers, and the numbers being sourced come from Deadline. But this is an impressive number for the film, which will zap its way out of theaters by next weekend. All of this is extra to the service’s profit plan for the film, which is expected to help drive subscriptions. It’s fair to say that broken streaming records may be in Netflix’s future here.

Korean war drama Devotion opened at #4 with $9 million over five days and $6 million over three. The Sony Pictures film came in right around its predicted start. It’s an okay start for a film that tried to capitalize on the Top Gun craze a bit but is in fact a very different film.

Now, it should be said that we don’t know how much Devotion cost, and that will matter quite a bit to this film’s chances. (There’s a $90 million figure being bandied about, but that is from a very unreliable source that doesn’t even list the number anymore.) But right now, it seems to be doing okay for a midbudget effort, and the buzz and word of mouth should help nicely. It has an 80% RT score, an A- CinemaScore and a 92% RT audience average. Devotion should be able to finish off with around $30 million.

The first non-MCU holdover from last week is The Menu, which came in at #5 with $7.3 million over five days and $5.2 million over three. The dark comedy/thriller had a solid hold from last weekend, down 42%, and now stands at $18.7 million domestically and $33.5 million worldwide. It still has a ways to go to make back its $30 million budget, but it’s doing fairly well and should be able to make its way to breakeven. A $30 million domestic total seems doable.

Black Adam scored $4.6 million over five days and $3.4 million over three days, down just 27% weekend-to-weekend. The DCEU film is still clawing its way toward breakeven; it currently stands at $163 million domestically and $378.1 million worldwide. It has a ways to go still with its $200 million budget, but its proving to have some legs and breakeven isn’t out of the realm of possibility. $175 million should be doable in terms of domestic gross.

A couple of Oscar-tipped films opened quietly this weekend, starting with Bones And All. The Luca Guadagnino-directed cannibal romance brought in $3.6 million over five days and $2.2 million over three. That was entirely expected for this film, even if some pundits hoped for more. There were those hoping that Timothée Chalamet’s rising star could boost the results here, but it ended up being his lowest wide release start yet.

And to be fair, let’s be honest about this one: a cannibal romance isn’t exactly an easy sell for studios. This isn’t a horror film; it’s a romantic road film. That this got a 2,700 theater release is only due to the high buzz around it that came out of the Venice Film Festival and has been followed up by a good 83% RT score. Audiences are unsurprisingly more split, with a B CinemaScore and a 60% RT audience score.

All this is to say that this film will probably not make a ton of money. The budget was $20 million and its Oscar chances look slim, so it won’t get a boost from award season. It stands at $3.7 million domestically and $5.8 million worldwide; unless this chips up overseas, it will probably have to wait for home video to make money. The domestic total is likely to be around $10 million.

The Fabelmans similarly opened low, as the Steven Spielberg film started off at $3.1 million over five days and $2.2 million over three. The semi-autobiographical period drama was also expected to start off low and is being viewed as disappointing considering Spielberg’s cultural cache.

That said, this has some positives and negatives that Bones and All doesn’t. For one, The Fabelmans has a lot wider to go, having only expanded to 638 theaters this weekend. (It will go wider in the weeks to come.) For another, this is a much easier film to market to mainstream America and is in the frontrunner status for several Oscar categories. Universal will be pushing this one hard as we roll into award season, and that will allow it to have much higher weekends.

All that said, this film is moderately expensive for the genre at $40 million, which means it will probably need to approach the $100 million range to make a profit when you consider how much will be spent to market toward an award campaign. It’s impossible to say how much it will ultimately gross as that depends on a lot of factors, but right now it is at $3.4 million domestically and overseas numbers will have to come in strong for it to have much of a chance.

Ticket to Paradise was brought in $2.6 million over five days and $1.9 million over three in its sixth weekend, down 42%. The Julia Roberts/George Clooney romantic comedy is approaching the end of its run with $65.1 million domestically and $162 million worldwide, making it a solid hit for Universal Pictures against a $60 million budget.

Fathom Events’ faith-based The Chosen Season 3: Episode 1 & 2 predictably fell off a cliff, as these events tend to do. It brought in $2.2 million over five days and $1.6 million over three, down 82% from its start. The event has $13.5 million and is likely to end at around $15 million.

Next weekend will likely be a fourth at the top for Wakanda Forever, as the only new competition is the holiday action-comedy Violent Night. That film is looking to start in the $10 million range.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Five Day & Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – $64 million/$45.9 million ($367.7 million total, $675.6 million WW)
2. Strange World – $18.6 million/$11.9 million ($18.6 million total, $27.8 million WW)
3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – $13.3 million/$9.4 million ($13.3 million total/$13.3 million WW)
4. Devotion – $9 million/$6 million ($9 million total/$9 million WW)
5. The Menu – $7.3 million/$5.2 million ($18.7 million total, $33.5 million WW)
6. Black Adam – $4.6 million/$3.4 million ($163 million total, $378 million WW)
7. Bones and All – $3.6 million/$2.2 million ($3.7 million total, $5.8 million WW)
8. The Fabelmans – $3.1 million/$2.2 million ($3.4 million total, $3.4 million WW)
9. Ticket to Paradise – $2.6 million/$1.9 million ($65.1 million total, $161.9 million WW)
10. The Chosen Season 3: Episode 1 & 2 – $2.2 million/1.6 million ($13.5 million total, $13.5 million WW)