The usual post-Thanksgiving box office slump has been worsened by a poor slate of Thanksgiving releases. Only two films have earned over $5 million this weekend, with Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” taking a $17.5 million fourth weekend while Universal’s “Violent Night” opens to $13.3 million.
“Wakanda Forever” is on its way to becoming the third film this year to cross the $400 million domestic mark, joining “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Along with a running $393 million domestic total, the film’s overseas total has risen to $339 million, bringing its global cume to $733 million.
“Violent Night,” meanwhile is the sole newcomer this weekend, with its $13.3 million opening from 3,682 theaters slightly topping projections for a $10-12 million launch. Starring David Harbour as a surly Santa Claus dishing out punishment to the naughtiest of bad guys, the film has had generally positive reception with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 70% critics and 89% audience to go with a B+ on CinemaScore.
As expected of an R-rated action comedy, the film’s demographics skewed 59% men and 57% ages 18-35. “Violent Night” will now try to leg out through December as a seasonal offering and earn a domestic run of $40-50 million, similar to the $42 million domestic run of the 2015 Christmas horror film “Krampus.”
After these two films, there is a drop to third where Disney’s “Strange World” continues to tank, falling 63% from its weak $12.1 3-day Thanksgiving opening to $4.9 million in its second weekend. The film is still on course to become one of Disney’s biggest theatrical bombs ever with a domestic total of $25 million and a global total of $42 million against a production budget of at least $120 million before marketing costs are even factored in.
Disney is faring better with the much cheaper Searchlight horror film “The Menu,” which took in $3.6 million in its third weekend. “The Menu” actually has a higher global total than “Strange World” at $47.2 million, with $24.7 million coming from domestic grosses.
Completing the Top 5 is another theatrical bomb, Sony Pictures’ “Devotion,” which despite positive reception is earning just $2.8 million in its second weekend, bringing the $90 million Korean War drama to a domestic total of just $13.8 million.
Outside the Top 5, Universal’s “The Fabelmans” added $1.3 million in its second weekend in wide release, bringing its total to $5.6 million. It still remains to be seen whether this Steven Spielberg film can continue to bring in older audiences as it gets closer to the holidays, or if it will run out of steam like most prestige dramas this fall.
After a strong run in theaters with the indie Christian streaming series “The Chosen,” Fathom Events released the inspirational Christmas period piece “I Heard the Bells” in 974 theaters on Thursday, earning a solid 4-day total of $2.5 million.
Finally, Paramount re-released its studio record hit “Top Gun: Maverick” in 1,864 theaters for a two-week engagement, adding $700,000 this weekend to bring the film’s domestic total to $717.7 million.