Opening weekend box office, charts and commentary
The current weekend: November 24 to 26, 2023 Thanksgiving weekend
1) Disney's Wish opening
- This is a weak opening for a new November animation picture (non-sequel). The 3-day weekend figure is roughly half of average. During the last 25 years, Disney and Pixar have released seven new November animated movies. Among them, Encanto had the lowest 3-day opening at $27.2m during the pandemic in 2021. This is well below that opening.
Part of the success of these films comes from holding up well over subsequent weeks (they do a 3.7x domestic multiple). While Wish’s audience rating is very good (an A- CinemaScore), the box office traditionally slows in early December. The movie should continue on a subdued animation run:
- Historically, the biggest new November animation titles have come from Pixar and Disney: The Incredibles ($70.5m 3-day, 3.7x multiple), Frozen ($67.4m, 6x), Monsters, Inc. ($62.6m, 4.1x), Moana ($56.6m, 4.4x), Big Hero 6 ($56.6m, 4x), and Wreck-It Ralph ($49m, 3.9x).
This season, the year-end family movies include Trolls 3/DreamWorks, Wish/Disney, Wonka/WB (Dec 15), and Migration/Illumination (Dec 22). This is important playing time for the genre. With two of the pictures open so far, the box office is soft.
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2) Napoleon opening
- This is a good opening for a period epic action adventure. These are big productions and Napoleon has pedigree in its director Ridley Scott and leads Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby. The film was expensive to make at around $200m.
Napoleon is a European character and story, with natural appeal in that part of the world. The movie should over-perform abroad. While the BO start is good for the genre, the production cost is enormous for this type of film. Critics’ reviews are lukewarm, audience scores are indifferent (a B- CinemaScore), and an awards sweep is unlikely:
- Next weekend we'll have total box office figures for the 4-week November period and for year-to-date 2023. The strikes are over, but moviegoing remains slow. The malaise will continue into next year.
It will take one or two exceptional, original films, like we had during the summer, to get audiences’ attention and reignite the business.