Encanto leads Thanksgiving box office, House of Gucci has best opening for a drama in two years
Disney continues to dominate the box office, even if grosses from this Thanksgiving weekend show the cineplex is still very much in recovery.
Encanto, the studio's fantastical Colombia-set fable featuring original music from Lin-Manuel Miranda, debuted at the top of the pack, hauling in $40.3 million over five days.
As the first animated studio title to receive an exclusive theatrical window since the COVID-19 pandemic upended Hollywood and the moviegoing experience, the film's success bodes well for future animated releases as more children under 11 become vaccinated.
However, Encanto's numbers pale in comparison to Disney's pre-pandemic Thanksgiving releases, like 2019's Frozen II (which pulled in $123.7 million) and 2018's Ralph Breaks the Internet (which made $84.6 million).
Showing more promise, though, is House of Gucci, which had the best opening for a drama of the past two years. The United Artists Releasing–MGM film starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, and Jared Leto brought in $21.8 million over the holiday weekend, which isn't too far off from the previous title holder, Sony's Little Women, which made $29.2 million over the Christmas holiday in 2019.
Going by a per-screen average of $84,000, far and away the best average since the pandemic started, the biggest box office winner of the holiday weekend was Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, Licorice Pizza, which only showed an 70MM print on four screens between New York and Los Angeles. Its $335,000 total gross even bested some of the filmmaker's previous specialty openings like 2017's Phantom Thread ($216K from four theaters) and 2007's There Will Be Blood ($190,7K from two theaters).
A major new release that didn't do so hot? Sony's action-horror video game adaptation Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, which made $8.8 million on a $25 million budget. Balancing that out, however, was the studio's other recent release Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which came in second at the box office with $35.3 million, bringing its 10-day domestic total to an estimated $87.8 million.
Despite the big studios still coming out on top, United Artists distribution chief Erik Lomis celebrated the "definite progress" his studio's two releases, House of Gucci and Licorice Pizza, showed as the box office recovers this year.
"Original stories still matter," he said. "I think that's a big deal."
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