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Walt Disney Animation’s musical adventure Encanto kicked off the extended Thanksgiving box office parade with a Wednesday gross of $7.5 million, followed by $5.8 million on Thanksgiving Day for a two-day total of $13.3 million.
The family movie, along with MGM and United Artists’ adult-skewing drama House of Gucci, opened nationwide Wednesday ahead of the lucrative Thanksgiving corridor, as did Sony’s action-horror reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.
Thanksgiving Day can be a solid moviegoing day for non-family fare, with traffic picking up in earnest on Black Friday and continuing throughout the holiday weekend.
Moviegoing still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, but Encanto and Gucci, along with Ghostbusters: Afterlife — which launched last weekend — look to feast on solid numbers throughout the holiday. That’s good news for two genres that have been particularly hampered by COVID: family titles and adult dramas.
Projections are tough at this point, but some believe Encanto — which earned an A CinemaScore — could hit $40 million-$45 million in its five-day debut, which would be the top showing of the COVID-19 era for a family title. It is the first major animated studio title to receive a theatrical exclusive window since the pandemic struck in winter 2020, and opens as younger children are authorized to be vaccinated.
With original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Encanto tells the tale of a Colombian teenager who has to save her extended family’s magic although she has no special gift of her own. Byron Howard, Jared Bush and Charise Castro Smith directed.
The animated film’s voice cast includes Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, Wilmer Valderrama, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Jessica Darrow, Rhenzy Feliz, Carolina Gaitán, Ravi Cabot-Conyers and John Leguizamo.
Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which is succeeding in reviving the Sony franchise after opening last weekend to a strong $44 million, earned $5.5 million on Wednesday and another $5.4 million on Thursday to hold at No. 2. It’s possible the adventure-comedy could take in $35 million-$37 million for the five days.
MGM and United Artists’ House of Gucci, a player in the awards race, stars Lady Gaga as wife of fashion scion Maurizio Gucci, played by Adam Driver. Al Pacino and Jared Leto also star in this tale of murderous revenge, with Ridley Scott directing. It received a B+ CinemaScore from audiences (one reason could be its 158-minute running time).
Gucci placed third Wednesday with $4.2 million and $3.4 million on Thursday for a two-day total of $7.6 million. The adult drama has a shot at sewing up a promising $20 million-$23 million for the five days.
Screen Gems’ reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City — about a group of survivors trying to put down a zombie attack in their small town — placed fourth with an opening day of $2.5 million. It grossed around $1 million on Thursday.
The action-horror pic is directed by Johannes Roberts and stars Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue and Neal McDonough.
Warner Bros.’ King Richard, another Thanksgiving offering that opened opposite Afterlife last weekend, placed No. 7 on Wednesday with an estimated $650,000. It was the only film in the top 10 to see an uptick on Thursday, earning north of $805,000 to hold in seventh place.
The awards contender, starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, hopes to build at the box office thanks to stellar reviews and 99 percent exit scores (Thursday’s number was a promising sign). King Richard is also available on HBO Max.
Nov. 26, 8:20 a.m. Updated with Thursday numbers.
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