This year’s Thanksgiving weekend could provide a welcome feast for exhibition following a string of modest-to-underperforming openers during that holiday corridor in recent years.
In addition to the release of new films from Disney’s animation house and director Ridley Scott, the holdover market will boast titles such as The Marvels, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Trolls Band Together, Thanksgiving, Next Goal Wins, and Journey to Bethlehem following their early-to-mid month debuts.
Walt Disney Studios
November 22, 2023
3-Day (FSS) Opening Weekend Tracking Range: $45M-$65M
Domestic Total Tracking Range: $185M-$289M
- Throughout Disney’s most recent golden age of animation, the studio has notched quite a few breakout animated releases during the Thanksgiving corridor, including the likes of the Frozen films, Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Tangled, and Pixar’s Coco.
- Early social buzz for Wish is healthy as trailers, promotional material, and song previews have successfully pitched the film as not just a return to the classic female-led, fairy tale template made to appeal to Disney’s mother-daughter audience, but also an Easter egg-filled homage to the studio’s history of animated classics, released to coincide with the brand’s 100th anniversary.
- Early pre-sales for Wish are well above the pace of 2021’s Encanto and 2022’s Strange World, the former having released as Covid-19 concerns remained front of mind for parents and the latter turning into a major misfire that didn’t appeal to much of Disney’s core audience.
- With no fresh competition on the slate until mid-to-late December’s Wonka and Migration, Disney’s latest original animated film will have plenty of runway to leg out if word of mouth is strong and its musical tracks inspire the kind of repeat viewing that aided the Frozen franchise, Moana, and Tangled.
- Disney’s primary audience for films such as Wish has been a challenging one for the studio to bring back to theaters as they readjust following a pandemic-era strategy that prioritized Disney+ for its animated titles.
- November is filled with a number of high-profile, female-leaning films (The Marvels, Hunger Games, and Trolls), which could cut into Wish‘s upfront and/or long-term audience if any or all inspire strong reception themselves.
- The absence of stars Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, and cast from the promotional circuit due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike may be worth factoring into expectations.
Sony Pictures & Apple Studios
November 22, 2023
3-Day (FSS) Opening Weekend Tracking Range: $16M-$21M
Domestic Total Tracking Range: $46M-$74M
- Joaquin Phoenix could be a considerable draw, with the actor’s own star appeal and mainsteam audience goodwill following his Joker Oscar win augmented by the added appeal of portraying a famous historical figure.
- Ridley Scott’s directorial credit is a notable selling point given that some of his career’s biggest hits (such as Gladiator and The Martian) have been of a similar epic, star-driven bent.
- The absence of significant competition for adult audiences could spur extra demand over the holidays as Napoleon opens one month after Killers of the Flower Moon and, pending any release date shifts, films such as late December’s American Fiction, The Color Purple, and Ferrari.
- With only the aforementioned Flower Moon as a sample size to judge by, some volatility in marketing footprints should be expected as this will be Apple’s latest collaboration on a theatrically exclusive distribution with a major studio.
- Reviews and reception will be key given the reality that period films are challenging to sell among today’s moviegoers, while Scott’s own box office history is quite varied in recent years.
- Even more so than Wish, the ongoing labor dispute preventing actors from promoting films will likely impact Napoleon in a meaningful way if Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby are unable to help market the film to its intended adult audience.
Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2023’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 10/26/23)
|Release Date||Title||3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range||Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week||5-Day (WTFSS) Opening Low/High Range||Domestic Total Low/High Range||Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week||Distributor|
|11/3/2023||The Marsh King’s Daughter||STX / Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions|
|11/3/2023||Priscilla||$3,000,000 – $8,000,000||$10,000,000 – $27,000,000||A24|
|11/3/2023||What Happens Later||Bleecker Street|
|11/10/2023||The Holdovers (Wide Expansion; LA+NY Oct. 27, Limited Nov. 3)||Focus Features|
|11/10/2023||The Marvels||$45,000,000 – $67,000,000||-9%||$109,000,000 – $169,000,000||-9%||Disney / Marvel Studios|
|11/10/2023||Journey to Bethlehem||$3,000,000 – $8,000,000||-25%||$15,000,000 – $38,000,000||-17%||Sony / AFFIRM Films|
|11/17/2023||The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes||$35,000,000 – $45,000,000||+5%||$90,000,000 – $142,000,000||+5%||Lionsgate|
|11/17/2023||Next Goal Wins||$5,000,000 – $10,000,000||$16,000,000 – $35,000,000||Disney / Searchlight Pictures|
|11/17/2023||Thanksgiving||$10,000,000 – $15,000,000||$22,000,000 – $40,000,000||Sony / TriStar Pictures|
|11/17/2023||Trolls Band Together||$21,000,000 – $31,000,000||$68,000,000 – $113,000,000||Universal Pictures|
|11/22/2023||Napoleon||$16,000,000 – $21,000,000||$23,000,000 – $32,000,000||$46,000,000 – $74,000,000||Sony Pictures / Apple|
|11/22/2023||Saltburn (Expansion; Limited Nov. 17)||Amazon Studios / MGM|
|11/22/2023||Wish||$45,000,000 – $65,000,000||$64,000,000 – $94,000,000||$185,000,000 – $289,000,000||Walt Disney Pictures|
Unless otherwise noted, all figures above represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation at the time of this report’s publication date. These are statistical snapshots, not final forecasts.
Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections for theatrical movies up to 12 months from release are available to clients.