Disney’s Encanto – the first non-Pixar Walt Disney Studios original animated film to debut exclusively in theaters since Frozen II in November 2019 –won the top spot at the domestic box office over the Thanksgiving frame, grossing an estimated $27 million over the three-day weekend and $40.3 million over the five-day span beginning Wednesday from 3,980 locations. The adult-skewing House of Gucci, meanwhile, enjoyed a solid debut while the horror reboot/prequel Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City launched quietly further down the chart.
Despite winning the weekend and boasting the highest domestic theatrical debut of any fully-animated film since the start of the pandemic, Encanto’s opening haul came in at the low end of expectations. The reason for this may partly come down to timing; while kids 5-11 became eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine earlier this month, even those who received their first shot as soon as they became available won’t be fully vaccinated until sometime in December. In short: While concerned parents can rest easier knowing their young children are eligible for the vaccine, many are likely waiting for their kids to be fully inoculated before returning to the multiplex.
Nonetheless, Encanto has a good shot of holding up well in subsequent weekends. particularly given the movie’s stellar reviews (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) and strong word-of-mouth indicators (“A” Cinemascore, 93% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes). The landscape looks particularly good for Encanto given that its next major competitor —Universal’s Sing 2 —doesn’t land until December 22, giving the Disney title a solid month of play before attention shifts to the newer, shinier object.
Encanto pulled in positive numbers overseas, tallying a $29.3 million three-day frame from 47 markets, and scoring the second-biggest opening weekend of all-time for an animated title in Colombia ($2.6M, behind Toy Story 4). The title earned the biggest opening weekend for an animated title during the pandemic across several markets. Top international performers include France ($3.5M), Colombia ($2.6M), UK ($2.4M), South Korea ($2.2M), and Italy ($2.1M). The animated title finishes its global opening weekend at $69.6 million.
Holding well in second place was last weekend’s champ Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which dropped 44% to an estimated $24.5 million in its sophomore frame over the three-day period and $35.25 million over the five-day. That’s a great hold for the reboot/sequel, which is performing well with both older and younger audiences and also retained a solid portion of its PLF and IMAX screen footprint this weekend. The Sony release has $87.75 million domestically so far, with plenty of wind left in its sails. Internationally, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has grossed a total of $28 million from 40 markets for a global cume of $115.75 million. The film expands to France and South Korea on December 1, Russia and Spain on December 2, Australia on January 1, and Japan on February 4.
MGM/UA’s House of Gucci – which debuted exclusively in theaters – performed well in third place with an estimated $14.23 million over the three-day frame and $21.83 million over the five-day from 3,441 locations in its opening frame, marking it as one of the rare adult-skewing dramas to connect with viewers in the pandemic era. While the cast is comprised of an A-list lineup including Adam Driver, Jared Leto and Al Pacino, buzz around the Ridley Scott-directed crime pic has largely been centered around Lady Gaga, whose high-wattage star power has been a boon for the film’s robust marketing campaign and likely helped draw a wider cross-section of the moviegoing audience than it otherwise might have.
Gaga and Gucci drove in $12.8 million from 40 overseas markets, bringing the film’s global opening weekend to $34 million. The title beat out Disney’s Encanto for the top spot in the UK with a $3.4 million bow from 687 screens. Other top international performers include France (#3 with $1.85M from 401 screens), Mexico (#3 with $975k from 710 screens), and Spain (#2 with $795k from 408 screens). The film will expand overseas throughout the coming months, including Germany and Russia on December 2, Australia on January 1, South Korea on January 12, and Japan on January 14.
Reviews have been mixed for House of Gucci, which has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 61% as of this writing. Audiences have received it more favorably, however. On Rotten Tomatoes, its Audience Score stands at 85%, while the Cinemascore is a very good B+. The film has a pretty clear corridor next weekend, with no major new studio releases in the pipeline, giving Gucci a chance to maintain a strong presence at the box office in its sophomore frame before West Side Story cuts into its hold on the over-35 crowd when the Steven Spielberg-directed musical debuts in theaters on December 10.
Fourth place this weekend went to Disney/Marvel’s Eternals, only dropping 29% in its fourth frame with an estimated $7.9 million three-day/$11.4 million five-day. The superhero title has $150.6 million to date in North America, putting it considerably behind both Shang-Chi and Black Widow at the same point in their respective runs. Overseas, Eternals currently stands at $217.8 million from 48 markets for a $368.4 million global total. Top international performers include South Korea ($26.4M), the UK ($18.7M), France ($14.9M), Mexico ($14.3M), Brazil ($11.1M), and Australia ($10.3M).
The final new wide release of the weekend, Sony’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, opened at the very low end of expectations with an estimated $5.27 million over the three-day frame and $8.8 million over the five-day. Keeping the pandemic in mind, that’s the lowest opening ever for a Resident Evil installment. Fans of the original franchise (Raccoon City is a prequel) may have been turned off by the absence of the old cast—most importantly original star Milla Jovovich—who provided continuity in the earlier entries. That said, the series had already been losing steam domestically—though not overseas—long before the pandemic, with 2016’s The Final Chapter taking in just $26.83M in North America (versus a whopping $285.41M internationally). Raccoon City garnered poor reviews, but that’s nothing new for a franchise that became a billion-dollar-plus franchise despite receiving little love from critics.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City began its overseas run this weekend with a $5.1 million haul from 15 markets. Top openers include France ($875k), Russia ($740k), Taiwan ($620K0, Mexico ($580k), and Saudi Arabia ($550k). The film is scheduled to expand to Brazil (December 2), UK (December 3), Australia (December 9), South Korea (January 20), and Japan (January 28) in the coming months.
SPECIALTY BOX OFFICE
Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast led the specialty box office this weekend with a $970k 3-day and $1.3 million 5-day tally from its wide expansion over its third frame in the domestic market. The historical drama played at 1,128 locations in North America for a three-day per-screen average of $860 and currently sits at $4.9 million from its domestic run. The title landed in 11th place just outside the top ten over the Thanksgiving holiday led by its performance in DMAs like New York (10.7%), Boston (5%), Philadelphia (4.7%), Los Angeles (4.5%), and Chicago (4%). Four of the film’s highest-earnings locations on Friday and Saturday were in New York City, led by AMC Lincoln Square.
Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, released domestically by Searchlight Pictures, only dropped 38% over its fifth weekend in North America. The title finished 12th on the domestic chart with a $622k 3-day and $853k 5-day Thanksgiving weekend from 450 locations. The film has grossed $14.48 million domestically and $21.5 million from 34 overseas markets, led by the UK ($5.2M), France ($3.3M), Italy ($2.1M), and Germany ($2M).
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, released domestically by UA/MGM, posted the best per-screen average of the pandemic to date with a fantastic $83,852k per screen, for a total of $335k in its first weekend of release from just four 70MM theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Nearly three-quarters of its opening weekend audience (72%) across those four locations were between the ages of 18 and 34.
Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon (A24) expanded to over 100 locations this weekend, earning a $293k 3-day and $378k 5-day frame in 14th place in North America. The film has grossed a total of $528k in its first two weeks domestically.
Freestyle Releasing rolled out crime drama For the Love of Money to 519 locations in its opening weekend, earning a $232k 3-day and $310k 5-day bow.
Pablo Larrain’s Spener (Neon) became the second-highest grossing title of 2021 released in under 1,300 screens over the Thanksgiving weekend. The film brought in $211k in its 3-day frame, its fourth on the market, to reach a $6.64 million domestic cume.
Sony Pictures Classics’ culinary documentary Julia expanded to 288 screens this weekend and brought in $95k to bring its domestic total up to $197k in its third week in release.
Hindi title Sooryavanshi (Reliance) earned $80k from 59 screens in its fourth frame in North America this weekend, netting a solid $1,364 per-screen average. The film has now grossed a total of $3.54 million in the US/Canada market.
Bleecker Street’s India Sweets and Spices took in $33k from 121 screens in its sophomore frame, taking its domestic cume to $247k.
Janus films opened Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car in two New York City locations this holiday weekend. Film Forum and Film at Lincoln Center combined for an impressive $14k 3-day and $20k 5-day domestic debut for the latest film from the Japanese auteur. The 3-day per-screen average came in at $7,465, while the 5-day PSA finished at $10.175. The film’s three-hour runtime limited its available showtimes over the weekend to around three screenings per day. Drive My Car expands to Los Angeles next weekend, with an exclusive run at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre, and will reach art house theaters in San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Washington DC, Chicago, and Dallas beginning on December 10. A further domestic expansion is scheduled through the rest of December and January.
Listen to Insights from some of the top specialty and art house exhibitors in the United States in this week’s episode of The Boxoffice Podcast or watch a full video replay of our State of the Art House 2021 webinar below.
Sunday’s Studio 3-Day Weekend Estimates: November 26-28, 2021
|Title||Estimated weekend||% change||Locations||Location change||Average||Total||Weekend||Distributor|
|Ghostbusters: Afterlife||$24,500,000||-44%||4,315||n/c||$5,678||$87,758,129||2||Sony Pictures|
|House of Gucci||$14,231,000||3,477||$4,093||$21,832,596||1||United Artists|
|Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City||$5,275,000||2,803||$1,882||$8,800,000||1||Sony Pictures|
|Clifford the Big Red Dog||$4,875,000||-40%||3,292||-336||$1,480||$42,883,000||3||Paramount|
|King Richard||$3,300,000||-39%||3,302||n/c||$999||$11,378,000||2||Warner Bros.|
|No Time to Die||$1,753,000||-37%||1,342||-1,065||$1,306||$158,128,117||8||United Artists|
|Venom: Let There be Carnage||$1,565,000||-46%||1,537||-693||$1,018||$209,515,986||9||Sony Pictures|
|The French Dispatch||$622,000||-38%||450||-355||$1,382||$14,484,230||6||Searchlight|
|Ron’s Gone Wrong||$182,000||-81%||450||-1,070||$404||$22,728,848||6||20th Century Studios|
|India Sweets and Spices||$33,186||-81%||121||-222||$274||$270,170||2||Bleecker Street|
|The Last Duel||$18,000||-58%||130||-35||$138||$10,839,903||7||20th Century Studios|
|Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings||$14,000||-71%||65||-55||$215||$224,535,145||13||Walt Disney|
|Free Guy||$12,000||-33%||45||-20||$267||$121,623,590||16||20th Century Studios|