Disney’s “Strange World,” an animated adventure about a family of legendary explorers, is settling for box office scraps.
After a rocky $4.2 million opening day on Wednesday, the film collected $2.4 million from 4,174 North American theaters on Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday. With its two-day total at $6.7 million, weekend estimates for “Strange World” have been revised up slightly. Now, the movie expected to end the five-day frame with roughly $26 million, which is still a dismal result given its $180 million production budget. Heading into the Turkey Day weekend, the kid-friendly fable was estimated to earn $30 million to $40 million in its debut. But those projections were revised down, in part because the film landed a weak “B” CinemaScore and failed to generate buzz among family crowds.
To compare, Disney’s musical fantasy “Encanto” collected $40.3 million over the extended holiday frame in 2021. And box office watchers were kinder when it came to assessing those ticket sales because, at the time, young kids were still getting vaccinated for the first time. This year’s turnout is a bleak reminder that movie theaters have yet to fully recover from COVID closures. Prior to the pandemic, the family-centric holiday was considered a sure-fire time to open an animated movie; Disney’s Thanksgiving releases — like 2019’s “Frozen II” ($123.7 million to start), 2018’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” ($84.6 million to start) and 2017’s “Coco” ($71 million to start) — enjoyed significantly bigger opening weekends and played long into December. But families have remained extremely selective about big-screen offerings in pandemic times. Only Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which generated $937 million globally, has truly impressed at the box office.
In fairness to “Strange World,” it’s not like other new releases managed to entice audiences, either. Sony’s aerial war drama “Devotion,” Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age story “The Fabelmans,” and director Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal romance “Bones and All” each stumbled as they expanded nationwide.
“Devotion,” an inspirational drama starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell, is expected to land the best start among newcomers. It grossed roughly $1.2 million on Thursday and looks to finish the five-day holiday period with a lackluster $8.5 million.
Those ticket sales are practically blockbuster results compared to “The Fabelmans” and “Bones and All,” which hardly sold any tickets on Turkey Day. “The Fabelmans” took seventh place with $480,000 from 638 theaters, while “Bones and All” fell slightly behind with roughly $430,000 from 2,727 locations. “The Fabelmans” hopes to end the extended frame with a dismal $3 million. And “Bones and All” looks to finish the five-day stretch with $3.5 million, an even bleaker total since it’s playing in four time as many screens as Spielberg’s latest.
Without much in the way of competition, Disney and Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soared with $8.1 million on Thursday. The superhero sequel is supposed to bring in $60 million to $63 million over the five-day period, a solid result for a film opened three weeks ago. So far, “Wakanda Forever” has generated $321 million in North America.
Also in theaters this weekend is “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the follow-up to Rian Johnson’s hit 2019 whodunit. However, Netflix isn’t reporting grosses for the movie, which is playing in 600 North American cinema.