Disney’s ‘Encanto’ Holds Top Spot With $12.7 Million In Sleepy Sophomore Weekend
Even if you didn’t have a calendar, you’d know it was December. How? Because this weekend the box office felt a lot like that old holiday tale where not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. With no major new releases hitting multiplexes there wasn’t a lot of movement on the charts, as Disney’s family-friendly Encanto once again finished in the top spot with a $12.7 million haul in its sophomore session. Consider it the quiet before the storm—what with West Side Story, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and The Matrix: Resurrections all ready to be unwrapped in the coming weeks.

With the new Omicron variant making headlines and folks hustling to shop for the holidays, movie ticket sales were especially light over the weekend—roughly half of what they were over the Thanksgiving frame. Of course, the drop off in attendance probably also had a lot to do with the lack of splashy new titles on offer. Encanto’s $12.7 million, for example, was enough to win the weekend again despite representing a -53.2% dip from its Turkey Day debut. And while that decline may sound steep, it’s actually historically in line with Disney’s previous Thanksgiving animated roll-outs: 2019’s Frozen II, 2018’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, 2017’s Coco, and 2016’s Moana.

Playing in 3,980 theaters, Encanto scored a $3,200 per-screen average. After two weeks, the PG-rated movie about a family living in a magical mountain village in Colombia features the voice of Stephanie Beatriz and songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda has a domestic total of just a hair under $58 million. Overseas, the film has tacked on $58.1 million, bringing its cumulative worldwide total to $116.1 million. Encanto will arrive on Disney Plus after its 30-day theatrical-exclusive window closes before the end of the month. It should easily become the highest-grossing animated film of 2021 before then.

Finishing in the runner-up spot (again) was Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife with $10.4 million. The fourth and latest entry in the specter-hunting franchise starring Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, slipped -57.2% from the previous weekend and earned a $2,549 per-screen average in 4,059 locations. After three weeks, the PG-13-rated title finally pushed past the $100-million mark, landing at $102.2 million domestically; it tacked on another $42.9 million from abroad. Its three-week global cume now stands at $145.1million.

In third place (also again) was United Artists’ House of Gucci, which racked up $6.8 million in its sophomore frame. The R-rated dysfunctional family drama tracing the downfall of the renowned Italian fashion dynasty and starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, and Jeremy Irons, fell -53% from the prior weekend. Gucci snagged a $1,948 per-screen average in 3,477 theaters, which makes it a solid performer amongst adult-oriented dramas this year. Whether it will get very far beyond its $75 million budget is another question. To date, the Ridley Scott-directed film has pulled in $33.6 million domestically and a matching $33.6 million from overseas, putting its worldwide box-office cume at $67.2 million.

In fourth place was the weekend’s only new entry in the top 15. Fathom Events’ musical program about the life of Jesus Christ, Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers, made $4.1 million over its first weekend. Unspooling in 1,700 locations, the religious film earned a $2,411 per-screen average. It has accumulated $8.8 million in North America since opening on Wednesday and is not playing overseas. Fathom reportedly sold $1.5 million in pre-sales during the first 12 hours that tickets were available, which led the specialty distributor to expand the movie’s run. It is Fathom’s most successful in-cinema event to date.

Rounding out the top five was Disney’s Eternals with $3.9 million. The PG-13-rated Marvel tentpole, which stars Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, and Richard Madden, fell -50.3% from the previous weekend, playing in 3,230 theaters and scoring a $1,219 per-screen average. After five weeks, Eternals has piled up $156.5 million domestically and another $227.8 million from foreign markets, bringing its current worldwide gross to $384.3 million.

In further factoids and footnotes… Bubbling below the top 10 were the debuts of two notable indies: Director Paul Verhoeven’s provocative, R-rated comedy/drama/nunsploitation film Benedetta arrived from IFC to land in sixteenth place with $145,000 in 202 theaters; while Focus Features rolled out Wolf, its off-kilter R-rated drama about a young man (George MacKay) who thinks he’s a lupine. The film bowed in eighteenth place with $81,000 in 308 theaters. Finally, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age awards hopeful Licorice Pizza continues to pack houses in its four-theater limited run in New York and Los Angeles. In its second weekend, the film starring Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), Bradley Cooper, and Sean Penn finished in thirteenth place and added another $223,328 to its coffers. The buzzy title is slated to open nationwide on Christmas day, but with its still-staggering $55,832 per-screen average in its sophomore weekend, you have to wonder: What exactly is United Artists waiting for?