Disregard The Corporate Noise: Disney Will Dominate Thanksgiving Box Office With ‘Wakanda Forever’ & ‘Strange World’

Call it a holiday tradition as common as sweet potatoes on the Thanksgiving table, but Disney is going to rule the five-day holiday stretch again after wins in 2016 (Moana), 2017 (Coco), 2018 (Ralph Breaks the Internet), 2019 (Frozen 2) and last year (Encanto), as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s third weekend looks to do $40M over Wednesday-Sunday and Disney Animation’s Strange World hopes to squeeze out $30M+. All of this occurs as Bob Iger is re-installed as the CEO of Disney and the studio’s distribution czar Kareem Daniel exits.

That’s not exactly the best result for a Disney family film launching over the 5-day frame, a figure that’s under last year’s Encanto which did $40.5M. Part of the dilemma with Strange World is the fact that it’s original animation, which is also a tough sell. The movie follows a family of explorers, the Clades, as they venture into an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew which includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures.

While Disney has been criticized for not being woke enough, with Chapek running into his own imbroglio with the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the studio has fully embraced an LGBTQ+ plot point here with Strange World whereby character Ethan (voiced by Jaboukie Young-White), has a crush on another boy in the movie. Disney isn’t caving into any overseas pressure in certain territories to edit this content out, and as Nancy Tartaglione reported earlier today, the studio is taking a voluntary pass on more than 20 markets, where it won’t release Strange World, read Middle East, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Vietnam, East Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya), West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana), Maldives, Nepal and Bangladesh. Strange World cost $135M before P&A and the pic currently counts a 72% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Disney is jettisoning the movie to Disney+ by Christmas time, which is not the case for Wakanda Forever, which has a longer theatrical window. While Strange World‘s marketing hasn’t included anything about the gay character, the pic’s talent has been very vocal about it on their press tour.

Strange World hits 4,000 theaters this Wednesday with previews starting at 6PM Tuesday. Pic’s theater count is comprised of 2,000 3D locations, 250+ PLF auditoriums and 100+ 4D/DBox screens. Wakanda Forever finaled its second weekend at $66.4M, -63% for a ten-day running total of $287.1M.

Also going after family audiences on Saturday at 2PM local time in 1,200 locations are paid sneak previews of Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Uni held sneak previews last year over Black Friday weekend for Sing 2.

Adult content fills out the rest of the competition, and has unfortunately been the case with several pieces of older counterprogramming this fall, it’s all single digits. If anything does a result in the double millions from Wednesday to Sunday, it’s like, ‘Wow’.

BONES AND ALL | Official Trailer | MGM Studios

United Artists Releasing’s expansion of Luca Guadagnino’s cannibalism romance road movie Bones and All goes from five NYC and LA locations to 2,700 for what is an expected $7M-$9M take over 5 days. Women 18-34 were dominant this past weekend for the Timothee Chalamet movie, and that’s who is expected to buy tickets. Previews at 7PM tomorrow.

The wild card here on what could potentially steal a number of adults is Netflix’s one week sneak preview release of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The sequel is booked at 638 theaters and will only play one week, no matter how much money it makes before going dark and resurfacing on the OTT service on Dec. 23. As previously reported, all three major circuits for the first time have booked the Netflix tentpole — AMC, Regal and Cinemark, the latter having already played the streamer’s product. When Knives Out 2 hits the service, theaters can re-book the sequel again. No previews on Tuesday. Even through streamer isn’t reporting numbers, a $6M-$8M 5-day forecast is estimated by rival sources. Netflix is spreading its holistic P&A out throughout from theatrical to the pic’s streaming drop with key spots bought on Sunday NFL, Yellowstone, SNL, The Walking Dead finale. iSpot estimates that Netflix has taken out about $4.3M in spots which have yielded 65M impressions which is about half of what Universal has already spent on The Fabelmans in its campaign to date. A shining 93% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes for the latest sequel from Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig who returns as sleuth Benoit Blanc.

Devotion

Sony has a distribution deal for Black Label Media’s Korean War Navy fighter pilot movie Devotion, which is looking at $7M-$8M at 3,400. Previews start tomorrow at 2PM in 2,950 locations for this older skewing movie starring Jonathan Majors and Top Gun: Maverick‘s Glen Powell. Pic launched at TIFF and counts a current Rotten Tomatoes of 77% fresh.

Amblin/Universal’s Steven Spielberg autobiopic The Fabelmans goes wider on Wednesday in roughly 600, the outlook being in the single digits over the five days. Through its ten days of release at four theaters, the Pano Dano-Michelle Williams-Seth Rogen-Judd Hirsch-Gabriel LaBelle family drama counts close to $310K.

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