Thanksgiving Weekend Box Office Forecast: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to Withstand Strange World, Bones and All, Devotion, & The Fabelmans; Glass Onion Could Surprise

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"); Sony / Columbia ("Devotion"); Universal ("The Fabelmans"); Netflix ("Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery"); Disney ("Strange World")

A handful of films will open or expand for the typically lucrative Thanksgiving frame, but it will be Black Panther: Wakanda Forever going for its third straight box office crown.

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster has amassed $287 million domestically through ten days of play as it attempts to close the gap with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness for the year’s biggest domestic comic book movie run. That pic had earned $292.6 million through ten days.

Bowing for the holiday is a variety of options for moviegoers, though it’s questionable which will truly stand out and which could fizzle.

Disney’s animated effort Strange World is the favorite to land a runner-up spot behind Panther with its debut marking the first all-animated big screen release since July’s DC League of Super-Pets. Unfortunately, though, Strange World is tracking on the conservative end relative to past Disney toons as the science fiction element seems to be hindering interest from Disney’s cartoon wheelhouse: female moviegoers of all ages.

Barring an unexpected rush of demand, the film currently looks to open well behind Lightyear earlier this year, and likely below last Thanksgiving’s Encanto.

Disney is distributing Strange World at more than 4,000 domestic locations, including 2,000 3D sites, 250-plus PLFs, and 100-plus 4D/DBox venues. Previews start at 6pm on Tuesday.

Arguably the most intriguing release of the week is a potential watershed moment in the distribution of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery at an estimated 650-plus domestic theaters. The Netflix release is their most high profile film to date, and their first to be given an exclusive theatrical window in all major markets.

Glass Onion will enjoy a one-week engagement only in theaters before debuting on the streaming platform come December 23.

Tracking and pre-sales have been impressive for Rian Johnson’s anticipated follow-up to the 2019 breakout hit, which began its long box office run during this exact holiday corridor. On a per-theater basis, Glass Onion has a significant chance to be the top performing film nationwide release this week and could be a candidate to steal headlines if Netflix — or another source — reports box office grosses.

Although the streaming company has previously stated they will not disclose those figures, trends are strong enough to warrant including the sequel in box office forecasts this weekend. Theaters continue to add showtimes, though a lack of premium screens and a focus on mid-to-small auditoriums could also limit daily trajectories.

Given the unprecedented nature of Glass Onion, forecasts below are highly volatile with experimental models driving them.

The other major studio wide release aiming to counter-program over the holiday is Sony and Black Label Media’s Devotion. Jonathan Majors and Top Gun: Maverick‘s Glen Powell headline the aerial combat drama in a play that’s aimed to attract adult male audiences over the long Thanksgiving frame.

Certain markets indicate some over-performance potential with comparisons in tracking ranging from The Woman to Beast among recent releases.

Expanding to 2,727 locations, UAR Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All hopes to bring in more of the young audience its platform release at five locations last weekend didn’t necessarily reach.

The prestige-style opening led to $121,004 from those venues, but some appeal to Gen Z and young millennials is expected nationwide. Still, the niche subject matter of the film is likely to keep it in modest performance territory.

Also expanding into semi-wide release is Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. Universal will push the early Oscar contender into an estimated 600 theaters after two weeks playing in platform style at four New York and Los Angeles sites.

Yet again, expectations are volatile as this is another award season contender that may or may not click with mainstream audiences despite Spielberg’s aura. That market remains the slowest to recover in the post-pandemic era, and historically, movies about making movies haven’t often crossed over into commercial success outside industry-focused cities.

The hope, however, is that Spielberg and word of mouth will help the film build momentum as a crowd-pleaser going into the heart of holiday season.

Weekend Ranges

Bones and All (Wide Expansion)
Opening Range: $2 – 4 million (3-day)
Opening Range: $3.3– 6.8 million (5-day)

Opening Range: $5 – 10 million (3-day)
Opening Range: $7 – 14 million (5-day)

The Fabelmans (Semi-Wide Expansion)
Opening Range: $2.5 – 4.5 million (3-day)
Opening Range: $3.5 – 6 million (5-day)

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Opening Range: $5 – 8.5 million (3-day)
Opening Range: $10 – 15 million (5-day)

Strange World
Opening Range: $15 – 25 million (3-day)
Opening Range: $21 – 35 million (5-day)

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for between a 4 percent decline and a 4 percent increase from last weekend’s $99 million top ten aggregate.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast 5-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, November 27 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Disney & Marvel Studios $40,400,000 $58,400,000 $360,900,000 ~4,400 -39%
Strange World Walt Disney Pictures $19,100,000 $26,800,000 $26,800,000 4,000 NEW
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Netflix $8,000,000 $12,000,000 $12,000,000 ~700 NEW
Devotion Sony / Columbia Pictures $7,000,000 $10,000,000 $10,000,000 ~3,400 NEW
The Menu Disney / Searchlight Pictures $5,300,000 $7,000,000 $18,100,000 ~3,211 -41%
The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 Fathom Events / Angel Studios $4,600,000 $6,700,000 $18,200,000 ~1,800 -47%
The Fabelmans Universal Pictures $3,600,000 $4,900,000 $5,200,000 ~600 +4,323%
Bones and All United Artists Releasing $3,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,100,000 2,727 +2,412%
Black Adam Warner Bros. Pictures $2,800,000 $3,800,000 $162,100,000 ~2,700 -39%
Ticket to Paradise Universal Pictures $2,100,000 $2,800,000 $65,200,000 ~2,500 -34%

*All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are unofficial projections if presented with “~”.

The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"); Sony / Columbia ("Devotion"); Universal ("The Fabelmans"); Netflix ("Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery"); Disney ("Strange World")

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