‘Wakanda Forever’ Dominates Again With Strong $64 Million Five-Day Gross In Otherwise Weak Thanksgiving Weekend, ‘Strange World’ Flops With $18.6 Million Five-Day Cume
Though the holiday season is often a box office bonanza, unfortunately the numbers over this long holiday weekend aren’t giving us much to be thankful for as the three-day cume for the entire box office came to just $92.9 million (down from last weekend’s $101 million) and the five-day cume came to $133 million. Of course we can’t expect pre-pandemic numbers (2019 had a $181 million three-day and $262 million five-day, and that was actually down from 2018), but these numbers are even worse than last year’s $96.3 million three-day and $142 million five-day back when many were still hesitant to return to the cinema. For some perspective, the last pre-pandemic Thanksgiving weekend to even fall under $100 million for the three-day was in 1994.

Yes, the top movie this weekend, which was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with $45.9 million for the three-day and $64 million for the five-day, was higher than the top films in many of those years, including last year when the top film was Encanto with $27.2 million for the three-day and $40.6 million for the five-day. However, this weekend’s B-team was particularly not up to par with Turkey Day standards. For the three-day, last year had its second place film in the 20s and third place in the teens, while 2019 had its entire top five above $10 million. This year, just the top two even made the double-digit millions, with the second place film coming to a paltry $11.9 million.

For one of the few pieces of good news, Wakanda Forever had an impressive third weekend hold as it fell just 31%. After a somewhat disappointing second weekend drop of 63% which was much closer to the roughly 67% drops of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder than the amazing 45% second weekend drop of the first Black Panther, it leveled out better than the year’s earlier MCU outings (Doctor Strange 2 fell 48% in its third weekend and Thor 4 fell 52%). Wakanda Forever had the year’s second best opening ($181 million) after Doctor Strange 2 ($187 million) and third best post-second weekend cume ($287 million) after Doctor Strange 2 ($293 million) and Top Gun: Maverick ($295 million), but its post-third weekend cume ($368 million) shot well ahead of Multiverse of Madness’ ($343 million) to have the year’s second-best post-third weekend cume (at this point Maverick had $395 million). Black Panther 2 currently stands as the sixth-highest grosser of the year and is just days away from leaping to third, and should hit second place in the weeks ahead (though may fall back to third if Avatar: The Way of Water lives up to expectations). Worldwide it is now at $676 million.

Unfortunately, Disney’s Marvel-ous superhero numbers are met with a very disappointing opening from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest Strange World. The sci-fi adventure tale took second place with $11.9 million for the three-day and $18.6 million for the five-day. Excluding Raya and the Last Dragon (which released in the midst of the pandemic and was simultaneously available on Disney+ but still eked out an $8.5 million opening), it’s the worst opening for the label since 2011’s Winnie the Pooh ($7.86 million), but that was a low budget outlier for the brand, costing just $30 million compared to the big budget Strange World (reported price tags range from $120 to $180 million, but it's a brutally low opening even at the low end of the budget estimates). To find another comparatively low opening from Disney Animation, we have to go back to 2004’s Home on the Range, which opened to $13.9 million. Even last year’s Encanto, which was more affected by the pandemic and had a relatively poor opening for Disney Animation, still was able to more than double the opening of Strange World. The international numbers are no rosier, bringing in just $9.2 million from overseas.

Sneaking into third place is the one-week-long, 696 theater release of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, with Daniel Craig returning as detective Benoit Blanc. The sequel will disappear from theaters on Wednesday and premiere on Netflix on December 23, but despite the limited release, it will likely outgross many of the adult titles this season. It came in at $9.4 million for the three-day and $13.4 million for the five-day, averaging at $19k per theater over the five-day weekend, which is higher than any other film. The first Knives Out, which had a conventional release from Lionsgate, opened over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2019 with $26.8 million for the three-day and $41.4 million for the five-day. Whether or not the sequel would match or even surpass the original’s success (it finished with a $165 million cume) is anyone’s guess, but it’s clear from these numbers that while many of the adult titles are struggling, the star driven, crowd-pleasing films for adults can still do well, as we have also seen recently with Ticket to Paradise.

Fourth place went to the Korean War film Devotion, which is about the Navy’s first African-American aviator. The Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell-starrer, which Sony is distributing stateside, brought in $5.96 million for the three-day and $9 million for the five-day, a small number compared to what is said to be a large budget.

The Menu took fifth place at $5.2 million for the three-day and $7.3 million for the five-day, holding solidly with a drop of 42%. The darkly comic thriller set in a haute cuisine restaurant has a cume of $18.7 million, which is behind the $21.1 million ten day cume of Barbarian, to name a recent comp. Worldwide the total is now at $33.5 million. Given what is reportedly a $30 million budget, these aren’t great numbers, but it’s faring better than many films on the market.

The week’s two high profile expansions both fell out of the top five. Going from 5 to 2,727 theaters, United Artists’ Timothée Chalamet-starring, Luca Guadagnino-directed Bones and All ended up in seventh place with a three-day gross of $2.2 million and five-day gross of $3.6 million for a cume of $3.7 million. Right behind it is Steven Spielberg’s Bildungsroman The Fabelmans, which went from 4 to 638 theaters to gross $2.2 million over the three-day and $3.1 million over the five-day for a cume of $3.4 million. Both of these numbers are disappointing, but sadly they are par for the course for adult and arthouse content as of late.