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Thanksgiving 2017 Chows Down On Big Box Office From Coco, Justice League And Wonder, Plus Strong Wide Release Grosses From Lady Bird And Three Billboards

Disney’s long used the Thanksgiving holiday to launch a family movie box office hit and now they’ve got another jewel in that financial crown. Coco was the victor of the Thanksgiving holiday with a $49 million bow, the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for a movie opening over Thanksgiving weekend, behind only fellow Disney cartoons Moana ($56.6 million), Toy Story 2 ($57.3 million) and Frozen ($67.3 million) and it’s the eleventh biggest weekend gross ever seen by a film playing over the Thanksgiving frame. Coco is also only the third movie to debut over the Thanksgiving frame at the number one spot at the box office in the last ten years, only Four Christmases and Moana were also able to do that.

With $71.1 million in its first five days, Coco is a nice little hit for PIXAR, a nice rebound after their second ever money loser (Cars 3) debuted over the past summer. Barring weekend to weekend drops akin to what The Good Dinosaur experienced two years ago, Coco should handily hold onto its screens well into the lucrative Christmas holiday, and if it plays in the weeks to come like Disney’s Thanksgiving 2010 animated feature Tangled (which only made $300,000 less than Coco in its opening 3-day weekend with $48.7 million), it’ll end its domestic run with a decent final sum of about $202 million. One other noteworthy box office facet of this production: it looks like Coco may be the first PIXAR movie to really make gangbusters box office in China, a financially lucrative country that has long been a place where the studios fare failed to resonate (Inside Out made only $15 million there, for instance). However, Coco managed to bow to the second biggest opening weekend ever for an animated Disney movie in China with $18.2 million, which is only 24% behind the $23.6 million debut of Zootopia in that country. Zootopia ended up making $235.5 million in China and while it’s almost impossible for Coco to reach those box office hits, it does look like Coco is on track to become a major box office hit in China, continuing the films sublime foreign box office run that kicked off with it becoming the biggest movie of all time in Mexico.

In second place was last weekends box office champion Justice League, which saw the second smallest second weekend decline ever for a DCEU movie by going down 56% to gross another $40.7 million. That’s only slightly higher than the 53% second weekend declines the first two Hunger Games sequels experienced over the Thanksgiving frame, though it is a worse second weekend hold than the two most recent blockbusters (the last Hunger Games and Fantastic Beasts) who had their second weekends fall over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. So it’s a solid hold, but with only $171.5 million in the bank domestically right now, it’s got a ways to go before it’s profitable. I’d wager it’s headed for a final domestic cume of about $230 million, though it could go higher if it holds decently in the face of Star Wars.

Also scoring big numbers over this box office frame was sleeper hit Wonder, which added another $22.3 million to its domestic cume, a small 19% decline from last weekend. This one’s already grossed $69.4 million domestically and in addition to already more than tripling its domestic budget, it’s well on its way to cracking $100 million domestically. Fellow holdover Thor: Ragnarok came in at fourth place this weekend, going down 22% (the exact same amount Doctor Strange decline over Thanksgiving last year) to gross another $16.7 million. With $277.4 million in the bank right now, Thor’s newest movie is on track for a final domestic gross of $315-320 million.

Easing only 8% this frame was Daddy’s Home 2, which grossed another $13.2 million for a current domestic gross of $72.6 million. It looks like this one will just miss grossing over $100 million domestically but a $90-95 million final domestic gross isn’t bad. The best weekend-to-weekend decline in the top twelve belonged to Murder On The Orient Express, which dipped only 6% in its third frame to gross another $13 million for a great domestic gross to date of $74.2 million. Meanwhile, opening just five days prior to Coco didn’t suit The Star well as it dropped 30% in its second weekend, the second largest weekend-to-weekend decline in the top 12. The Star grossed another $6.8 million this weekend for a current domestic run of $22 million. Meanwhile, A Bad Moms Christmas added another $5 million (a 28% drop from last week), meaning it’s now grossed $59.7 million.

Roman J. Israel Esq. quietly bowed in wide release this weekend and grossed only $4.5 million, the third worst wide release opening weekend ever, only the $2.6 million bow of Glory and the $1.8 million bow of Power fared worse and both of those were released prior to 1990! Sometimes a box office dud like this one can be analyzed thoroughly to see how it went financially awry, but it’s no mystery here; Sony/Columbia gave the film a barely existent marketing campaign that started only a month ago and the fact that they kept shuffling its release date around the November 2017 calendar only hindered the meager marketing further. Counting its wide release grosses on Wednesday and Thursday, Roman J. Israel Esq. has now grossed $6.2 million domestically.

Faring much better in their theater count expansions were our next two movies. First up, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri went into wide release this weekend (614 theaters to be precise) and grossed a great $4.4 million for a per-theater average of $7,166 and a current domestic total of $7.6 million. Fellow November 2017 arthouse hit Lady Bird also went into wide release this weekend (791 theaters to be exact) and grossed $4 million for a $5,110 per-theater average and a domestic gross to date of $10.7 million. This makes it only the seventh movie in A24’s history to crack $10 million domestically. Both of these films had better per-theater averages than Spotlight and Brooklyn had when they expanded into wide releases over Thanksgiving 2015, which bodes quite well for both titles in their overall domestic run.

Dan Stevens first movie he got to headline post-Beauty And The Beast also bowed in wide release this weekend and that film was The Man Who Invented Christmas, which grossed $1.3 million, a middling start that, combined with its Wednesday and Thursday grosses, brings it up to only a $1.7 million domestic total. Far more impressive was Call Me By Your Name, which grossed $404,874 from 4 locations for the biggest per-theater average of 2017 with $101,219 per-location, making this one possibly another 2017 arthouse title that, like Three Billboards and Lady Bird, could translate into mainstream success. Finally, a movie that is decidedly not about Emile Hirsch fighting invisible aliens in Russia called Darkest Hour grossed $176,000 at 4 locations for a per-theater average of $44,000.

The Top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $181.2 million, a solid sum that’s on the higher end of Thanksgiving weekend box office runs. November 2017 has now grossed $959.4 million, just $500,000 behind the total gross of November 2016, and with just four days to go in the month it looks like this will end up being the fourth biggest November on record.

  • Jake Gittes

    I just want Call Me by Your Name to make all the money.

    • If it was being released by a studio that wasn’t Sony Pictures Classics, it probably would. Alas, SPC (who just fuck up releasing movies as naturally as you or I may breathe oxygen) is indeed the one handling Call Me By Your Name domestically so it’ll be lucky to get over $10 million domestically.

      • Jake Gittes

        They are going to be very slowly expanding it all the way up until the Oscar nominations, whereupon they’ll go wide with it, which is a wise strategy. The movie is phenomenal and accessible – or at least as accessible as a 130-minute plotless gay romance can be – and they know they have something really special on their hands here, so I don’t think even they can fuck it up. I think everything is in place for it to at least match Moonlight.