Weekend Box Office: 'Coco' Feasts on $18.6M Friday, Eyes $70M Debut

Coco Still - Publicity - Embed 2017
Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Armie Hammer's 'Call Me by Your Name' is opening to record numbers at the specialty box office.

Disney and Pixar's Coco won the Black Friday box-office race with $18.6 million from 3,987 theaters for a projected five-day Thanksgiving debut of $69 million-$70 million.

Coco, the animated event film about the popular Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, has been embraced by both critics and audiences, who awarded the pic a coveted A+ CinemaScore.

Between them, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar now 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; last year's Moana sang its way to $82.1 million; Tangled took in $68.7 million in 2010; and 2015's The Good Dinosaur gobbled up $55.5 million. When adjusting for inflation, Toy Story 2 (1999) 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 (voice of 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. and DC Entertainment's Justice League, which debuted last weekend, is holding at No. 2. The superhero mashup earned $16.5 million from 4,051 theaters on Friday for projected $59 million-$61 million five-day holiday (Wednesday-Sunday). That would put the film's domestic total at around $173 million through Sunday.

Director Stephen Chbosky's feel-good Wonder remains a strong draw among families after opening to a far better-than-expected $27 million last weekend. The movie, benefiting from an A+ CinemaScore, is expected to gross $32 million-$33 million for the five-day holiday frame.

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.

Among the flurry of films vying for adult attention and awards love, Denzel Washington-starrer Roman J. Israel, Esq. is having a hard time finding its stride. The legal thriller, which expanded nationwide on Wednesday after first opening in New York and Los Angeles, looks likely to earn a muted $6.5 million from 1,648 theaters for the five days.

Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) directed Roman J. Israel, Esq. about a lawyer whose idealism is put to the test when he joins a large Los Angeles law firm. Sony rejiggered the movie after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to tepid reviews.

Sony Pictures Classics' Call Me by Your Name is making headlines at the specialty box office after launching Friday in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the critically acclaimed film is projected to post the biggest per-screen average — $95,000-$100,000 — since La La Land in December 2016. The film stars Armie Hammer as a young academic who embarks on a love affair with his professor's 17-year-old son (Timothee Chalamet).

Focus Features' Winston Churchill pic Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman, debuted Wednesday in four theaters in N.Y. and L.A., and is tipped to post an opening theater average of $60,500.

Bleecker Street's The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer, also opened Wednesday in 626 cinemas and is expected to earn $1.7 million-$1.8 million for the five days.