After grossing $8.1 million at Thanksgiving, the superhero sequel exploded on Friday, adding another $18.2 million in ticket sales to its haul. “Wakanda Forever” is the only resounding box office success this season, on course to surpass a domestic gross of $350 million through Sunday.
Overall, the weekend was pretty tough for theaters. The five-day frame is expected to gross $125.4 million in ticket sales for all versions, down 12% from last year’s Thanksgiving weekend – which had the added handicap of arriving during a period of heightened precautions against COVID-19. This year’s crop of movies doesn’t connect as strongly as last year’s offerings like “Encanto” and “House of Gucci.”
Case in point: Disney’s new release “Strange World” grossed $5.2 million on Friday, bringing its domestic total to $11.8 million. It’s a terrible kickoff for the animated film, which opens in a prime holiday window with out-of-school kids and weighted with a production budget of $180 million to recoup.
“Strange World” received pretty solid nods from critics, with Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge writing, “The world may be super bizarre, but those who inhabit it are some of the most realistic and comprehensive Walt Disney Animation Studios has ever presented.” Audiences were only modestly enthused, with the film receiving a “B” CinemaScore. That’s not encouraging for the film’s prospects in December.
Theaters can get a stealth boost from “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” which Netflix released in about 600 theaters for a limited one-week time. Even with the streamer limiting supply and attempting to market a major theatrical commitment for the first time, the film appears to be performing impressively, with some contestants predicting a quiet third-place finish for the weekend. Netflix does not bring in theatrical revenue.
The bronze winner on the books for the weekend will be Sony’s aviation drama “Devotion,” starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell. The period film is projecting a total of $9.2 million for the five-day frame.
Searchlight Pictures’ “The Menu” is still blowing away, earning $2 million on Friday. The culinary horror-comedy is expected to land in fourth place.
Warner Bros.’ DC feature “Black Adam” is looking to round out the top five, adding $4.5 million in its sixth weekend of release. That would still be enough to land above two new awards hopefuls: United Artists Releasing and MGM and Universal’s ‘Bones and All’.The Fabelmans.” Neither movie makes a big splash in its expansions, with “Bones and All” shooting $3.461 million from 2,727 locations over a five-day span. “The Fabelmans” has a higher per-theater average, projecting $3.1 million from 638 locations.