Thanksgiving Box Office: 'Coco' Narrowly Beats 'Justice League' With $8.9M
'Coco' is expected to dominate the long Thanksgiving weekend with more than $70 million.
Disney and Pixar's Coco was the host of the Thanksgiving box-office feast, grossing an estimated $8.9 million on Thursday from 3,987 theaters for a two-day total of $22.2 million and projected five-day debut north of $70 million.
Holdover Justice League wasn't far behind with $8.5 million from 4,051 theaters for a domestic total of $130.8 million. Coco is expected to race ahead on Friday as families become available and easily win the long-holiday weekend.
Coco, about the popular Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, nabbed a coveted A+ CinemaScore from audiences.
Between them, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar claim the top six five-day Thanksgiving openings of all time, not accounting for inflation. Frozen (2013) is the record holder with $93.6 million, while last year's Moana sang its way to $82.1 million. Tangled took in $68.7 million in 2010, and The Good Dinosaur, $55.5 million in 2015. When adjusting for inflation, the 1999 Toy Story 2 supplants Frozen with nearly $141 million (unadjusted, Toy Story's five-day debut was $80.1 million).
Directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, Coco tells the story of 12-year-old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), who sets out to become an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). The trouble is, his family has banned music for generations. Miguel suddenly finds himself in the magical Land of the Dead, where he teams up with the trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) in hopes of unlocking the secret behind his family history. The Frozen featurette Olaf's Frozen Adventure accompanies the film.
Warner Bros.' DC superhero mashup Justice League, which debuted last weekend, is expected to earn roughly $61 million over the five-day holiday corridor.
Elsewhere, director Stephen Chbosky's family friendly Wonder remains a strong daw after opening to a far better-than-expected $27 million last weekend. The movie, also nabbing a coveted A+ CinemaScore, has galvanized elementary school kids, teachers and parents across the country.
The $20 million film adaptation of R.J. Palacio's acclaimed children's novel tells the story of a young boy with a facial deformity who attends a mainstream school for the first time (the book spawned the "Choose Kind" movement). Lionsgate, Participant Media, Walden Media and Mandeville Films partnered on Wonder, which stars Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay and Owen Wilson.
Wonder, holding at No. 3, grossed an estimated $3.9 million on Wednesday from 3,140 theaters for a projected five-day haul of $35 million-plus.
Among the flurry of films vying for adult attention and awards love is the Denzel Washington-starrer Roman J. Israel, Esq., which expanded nationwide on Wednesday after first opening in New York and Los Angeles. From Sony and playing in 1,648 theaters, the legal thriller may only gross $5 million for the five days.
Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) directed Roman Israel, about an lawyer whose idealism is put to the test when he joins a large L.A. law firm. The movie was rejiggered after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to tepid reviews.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Focus' Winston Churchill pic The Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman, and Bleecker Street's holiday offering The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer. And Sony Pictures Classics opens Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name in New York and Los Angeles on Friday; the critical darling stars Armie Hammer as a young academic who embarks on a love affair with his professor's 17-year-old son (Timothee Chalamet).
Nov. 24, 7:15 a.m. Updated with Thursday numbers.