Weekend Box Office Forecast: Violent Night Courts Holiday Sleeper Appeal, But Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Will Wear a 4th Crown

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"); Universal ("Violent Night")

This year’s Thanksgiving weekend slump will give way to a typical early December lull, but Violent Night hopes to provide at least a small spark of positivity for theaters and moviegoers.

After three weekends atop the box office, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is highly likely to repeat in first place for a fourth time with north of $20 million to kick off the final month of the year.

With $369.7 million through its 18th day of play, Wakanda has overtaken the pace of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The latter stood at $346.1 million at the same point in its run before closing with $411.3 million. It currently stands as the second highest grossing film of 2022.

The Panther sequel is now chasing the $400 million domestic threshold, which it looks to reach by the end of this weekend or early next week at the latest.

Debuting this weekend at an estimated 3,500 locations is the aforementioned Violent Night from Universal.

Led by Stranger Things‘ David Harbour, the holiday-themed action-comedy is courting fans of films like Nobody and the John Wick series, with flashes of Die Hard and other adult-driven Christmas classics highlighting marketing thus far.

Tracking has been solid for the somewhat niche film that hopes to leg out during the holiday season. From 28 reviews, the film’s 79 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score is encouraging toward that goal.

The studio previously enjoyed success with R-rated holiday fare this time of year back when Krampus debuted to $16.3 million in early December 2015, though recent comedic offerings from Universal — namely Easter Sunday and Bros — have misfired.

Social metrics, interest levels, and pre-sales are currently trending ahead of the aforementioned Nobody (also from Universal), which bowed to $6.82 million as theaters were still recovering from pandemic closures in March 2021.

The studio will release Violent Night beginning with Thursday previews. A rollout in some premium formats is also in play.

Meanwhile, Fathom Events is returning with their latest specialty release, I Heard the Bells, as Christmas season ramps up. Pre-sales are healthy in the wake of their successful partnership on The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 and 2 just a couple of weeks ago.

While expectations for Bells aren’t as high as that specialty release given the fan-driven nature of The Chosen, a fair comparison looks to be 2017’s The Man Who Invented Christmas. That Bleecker Street pic earned $1.8 million from 532 locations over a five-day Thanksgiving launch at the time.

I Heard the Bells is tracking similarly in pre-sales and social buzz, with an estimated location count of 1,200 per Showtimes Dashboard. The film will hold previews beginning Thursday evening.

Elsewhere:

  • Crunchyroll is opening The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie in semi-wide release at a projected 1,000 theaters, per Dashboard. Crunchyroll has considerable success with anime releases of late, though this looks to be a more conservative performer by their recent standards.
  • Paramount is taking advantage of the slow post-holiday corridor by re-releasing Top Gun: Maverick at close to 2,000 locations, including a return to some IMAX, ScreenX, and other premium formats. The top grossing film of the year’s last reported gross stood at $716.66 million on November 3.
  • Focus Features’ Spoiler Alert is set to debut in platform fashion at an estimated six locations in New York and Los Angeles.
  • Notably, the headline-stealing limited debut of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will be followed by the impact of its absence from theaters this week. Netflix is following through on their plan to limit the sequel’s theatrical engagement at seven days before a late December streaming launch. This film grossed an unofficial estimate of $15 million from just under 700 theaters in seven days.

Weekend Ranges

Violent Night
Opening Range: $8 – 13 million

I Heard the Bells
Opening Range: $1.5 – 3 million

The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie
Opening Range: $1 million or less

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for a 39 to 44 percent decline from last weekend’s $89.7 million top ten aggregate.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, December 4 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Disney & Marvel Studios $22,800,000 $400,000,000 ~4,000 -50%
Violent Night Universal Pictures $9,800,000 $9,800,000 ~3,500 NEW
Strange World Walt Disney Pictures $5,900,000 $26,700,000 ~4,174 -51%
Devotion Sony / Columbia Pictures $3,100,000 $14,000,000 ~3,405 -47%
The Menu Disney / Searchlight Pictures $3,000,000 $23,900,000 ~3,200 -45%
I Heard the Bells Fathom Events $2,300,000 $2,300,000 ~1,200 NEW
Black Adam Warner Bros. Pictures $1,800,000 $165,300,000 ~2,600 -45%
The Fabelmans Universal Pictures $1,400,000 $5,700,000 ~750 -38%
Ticket to Paradise Universal Pictures $1,100,000 $66,700,000 ~2,200 -41%
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $1,000,000 $717,700,000 ~2,000 n/a
The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie Crunchyroll $980,000 $980,000 ~1,000 NEW
Bones and All United Artists Releasing $950,000 $5,700,000 ~2,727 -58%

*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 either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.

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.

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