The nation’s multiplexes were as crowded as Thanksgiving tables as four new releases battled for a piece of the box-office pie over the five-day holiday weekend.
Disney’s latest animated offering, Encanto, won the festive frame, debuting in the top spot with a $40.3 million bow. Meanwhile, United Artists’ star-studded House of Gucci entered the charts in third place with $21.8 million and Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City finished in fifth with $8.8 million as Paul Thomas Anderson’s buzzy indie, Licorice Pizza, set a new pandemic-era specialty-release record with a supersized $84,000 per-screen-average.
Normally a period when tryptophan-dazed families flock to theaters in droves, the five-day Thanksgiving window has been anything but normal since the arrival of the COVID virus. But at least this year’s ticket sales signaled a significant rebound from 2020’s disastrous holiday frame—even if the marketplace still hasn’t quite returned to the pre-pandemic norm. Disney, which chose to sit out last turkey day, got back in the holiday spirit trying to repeat the success of its previous kid-friendly Thanksgiving smashes: 2019’s Frozen II, 2018’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, 2017’s Coco, and 2016’s Moana. And the studio’s latest, Encanto, didn’t quite match those blockbuster predecessors, it did manage to debut in the top spot with relative ease.
The PG-rated movie about a family living in a magical mountain village in Colombia featuring the voice of Stephanie Beatriz and songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda scored with critics and audiences alike, earning a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a straight ‘A’ grade from CinemaScore. And its first-place finish marks the best opening for an animated film since the pandemic began. The film took in $27 million over the three-day weekend and $40.3 million since Wednesday. Playing in 3,980 theaters, Encanto scored a $6,783 per-screen average. Overseas, it tacked on another $29.3 million (not including China, where it has not debuted yet), bringing its five-day cumulative worldwide total to $69.6 million.
Rounding out the Top Five was Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, which debuted to just under $5.3 million over the weekend and to $8.8 million in its first five days. The R-rated reboot of the six-film franchise based on the popular video game series stiffed with critics (no shocker there), earning a 24% green splat on Rotten Tomatoes. Raccoon City managed a $1,881 per-screen average at 2,803 locations and reaped another $5.1 million from overseas, bringing its first-week worldwide haul to $13.9 million.
Meanwhile, in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age awards hopeful Licorice Pizza shattered the previous pandemic-era record for the best first-week performance of an indie film, amassing a staggering $84,000 per-screen average out of the gate. That eye-popping stat was more than triple what the previous record holder, C’mon C’mon, racked up just last weekend. The R-rated film set in the California’s San Fernando Valley during the freewheeling ‘70s stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), Bradley Cooper, and Sean Penn. Licorice Pizza opened on Friday and earned $336,000. It will expand nationwide on Christmas day.
Encanto debuts at top of global box office
Disney animation Encanto in Streaming has landed at the top of the global box office in its opening session, boosted by the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.
The Colombia-set, magic-infused, song-powered family tale began with an estimated five-day $40.3m in North America and $29.3m from 47 international territories – combining for $69.6m. That’s the biggest opening for an animated feature in the pandemic era.
France led the way for Encanto with an estimated $3.5m, followed by Colombia with $2.6m – the second highest opening for an animated film in the South American country (behind Toy Story 4), and the biggest opening of the pandemic era there.
UK/Ireland ($2.4m), South Korea ($2.2m) and Italy ($2.1m) come next in Encanto’s table of top markets.
In the pandemic era, the top-performing US studio animated titles have been The Croods 2: A New Age ($216m), The Boss Baby: Family Business ($143m), Tom And Jerry ($133m) and Raya And The Last Dragon ($130m).
In addition, hybrid films such as Space Jam: A New Legacy ($163m) and Peter Rabbit 2 ($154m) rely heavily on animation.
This coming weekend sees Encanto open in Australia and New Zealand. A China release is to be confirmed.
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