With Thanksgiving weekend on the horizon, we saw some movies filling out the calendar hoping to stamp out their place for what is set to be a strong box office weekend. Well, that’s the hope. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a big cinema period because why talk to your family when you can avoid all potential arguments and sit in silence for a few hours instead? We definitely saw a mixture of adult-oriented films, family-friendly titles, and something for the cool teens.
The last group did well for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which took the top spot. It earned $44 million from 3,776 theatres, giving it a per-venue average of $11,652. The dystopian prequel did about as well as expected, which isn’t too shabby given that there’s no Jennifer Lawrence and this book, while still a big deal, wasn’t close to the cultural phenomenon of the first one. That movie hit at the right moment. This one still did respectably.
The songbirds beat the singing trolls as the animated threequel Trolls Band Together debuted at number two with $30.6 million. All that NSYNC reunion hype fizzled out around the time someone dropped their memoirs, funnily enough.
Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving sits at number four with $10.2 million from 3,204 theatres. Again, it’s a horror, it’s mid-budget, it’s got a high-concept set-up, and a holiday tie-in. The money prints itself, even when the reviews are decidedly mixed.
The numbers were less impressive for Next Goal Wins, directed by Taika Waititi. This film saw its release date bumped back over and over, mostly due to lockdown, but the current marketing around it has the stench of Disney/Searchlight trying to get rid of it as soon as possible. I don’t blame them. Reviews were tepid (I saw it at TIFF and was thoroughly underwhelmed), and all that pre-release awards buzz died the moment critics actually saw it. The film landed at number seven with only $2.5 million from 2,240 theatres. For comparison, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour grossed $2.4 million this past weekend from about 700 fewer theatres, and that’s in its sixth week of release.
Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn did better in its limited release, with a sharp $315,492 from only seven locations. The other limited releases of the weekend were: Finnish rom-com Fallen Leaves with $50,672 from two theatres; and The Disappearance of Shere Hite, a documentary about the sex educator and feminist Shere Hite, which grossed $17,000 from two cinemas.
This coming week sees the wide releases of Saltburn and The Holdovers, the new Disney animation Wish, and Ridley Scott’s historical epic Napoleon.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.