Disneys Encanto Leads Muted Thanksgiving Box Office, House of Gucci Lands Impressive Debut

Disney has reclaimed its rightful place at the top of Thanksgiving box office charts. “Encanto,” the studio’s new animated musical fable, collected $40 million since Wednesday, a robust tally at a time when family audiences haven’t been eager to return to cinemas.

It’s become holiday tradition for Disney to release a family friendly movie around Turkey Day, and “Encanto,” an animated movie with critical acclaim, serves as a promising sign that parents are gaining confidence to bring their young kids back to the movies. The movie’s five-day total is considerably short of the studio’s recent Thanksgiving releases, such as “Frozen II” in 2019 ($123.7 million), “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in 2018 ($84.6 million) and “Coco” in 2017 ($71 million). However, “Encanto” has landed the best opening weekend for an animated film during the pandemic. That’s notable because movies geared toward family crowds have struggled to sell tickets and in a normal year, animation is regularly one of the highest-grossing (if not the highest-grossing) genre.

This Thanksgiving is understandably far quieter than years past, but theater owners and studio executives have been encouraged that “Encanto” wasn’t the sole movie to sell tickets. Rather, a range of films were able to successfully carve out a slice of box office pie. Moviegoers also feasted on MGM’s A-list crime drama “House of Gucci,” which brought in $14.2 million over the traditional weekend and $21.8 million in its first five days of release, proving there’s still an audience for adult dramas, as long as Lady Gaga is featured in a starring role.

“This is a very good opening for an original crime drama,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “As with families, older moviegoers have been reluctant to return to the movies.”

To put its opening in context, “House of Gucci” has earned more in its first weekend in theaters than other films aimed at older crowds, such as Will Smith’s awards hopeful “King Richard” ($11.3 million), Ridley Scott’s star-studded medieval drama “The Last Duel” ($10.8 million) and David Chase’s “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” ($7.6 million), made during their entire theatrical runs.

Because of its $75 million production budget, “House of Gucci” will rely on substantial overseas ticket sales to turn a profit. Already, the R-rated drama has earned $12.8 million from 40 international countries, bringing its worldwide total to $34 million. Among foreign markets, “House of Gucci” had the biggest turnout in the United Kingdom and Ireland ($3.4 million), France ($1.9 million) and Mexico ($1 million).

“Encanto” was similarly pricey, costing the studio $120 million to make before accounting for marketing fees. Both “Encanto” and “House of Gucci” are playing exclusively in theaters, which should prove to be beneficial in the way of ticket sales. Other pandemic-era releases that were available on streaming platforms on the same day as their theatrical debuts were plagued with depressed box office receipts.

Also new to theaters this weekend is Sony’s “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” a reboot of the long-running horror series, landed in fifth place. The R-rated thriller earned $8.8 million over the five-day holiday stretch, a result that fell slightly short of expectations. It cost only $25 million to produce, so “Raccoon City” won’t have as much of an uphill battle to get out of the red.

In second place behind “Encanto,” Sony’s comedic sci-fi sequel “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” pulled in $24.5 million between Friday and Sunday and a strong $35 million since Wednesday. After 10 days on the big screen, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” has earned an impressive $87.7 million.

Disney’s “Eternals” landed at No. 4 with $7.9 million over the three-day weekend and $11.4 million during the five-day frame while playing in 3,165 venues. Since debuting exclusively in theaters earlier in November, the Marvel superhero epic has generated $150 million at the domestic box office. Globally, the film has made $368 million, a decent result for COVID times.

More to come…

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