'Wakanda Forever' Stays on Top Quiet Thanksgiving Box Office

Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is having no trouble staying above the competition at the Thanksgiving box office, even handily trouncing fellow Disney release “Strange World.”

After bringing in $8.1 million on Thanksgiving day, the superhero sequel exploded on Friday, adding $18.2 million more in ticket sales to its haul. “Wakanda Forever” is the only resounding box office success story this season, on target to push beyond a $350 million domestic gross through Sunday.

Overall, it’s been a fairly dire weekend for theaters. The five-day frame is projected to net $125.4 million in ticket sales across all releases, down 12% from last year’s Thanksgiving weekend — which had the additional handicap of arriving during a period of heightened COVID-19 precautions. This year’s crop of films aren’t connecting as strongly as offerings last year like “Encanto” and “House of Gucci.”‘

Case in point: Disney’s new release “Strange World” netted $5.2 million on Friday, pushing its domestic total to $11.8 million. That’s a terrible kickoff for the animated film, opening in a prime holiday window with kids out of school and weighted by an $180 million production budget to recoup.

“Strange World” received solid enough nods from critics, with Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge writing, “The world may be super-weird, but those who populate it are some of the most realistic and well rounded that Walt Disney Animation Studios has ever presented.” Audiences are only modestly enthused, with the film receiving a “B” CinemaScore. That’s not encouraging for the film’s prospects moving into December.

More to come…

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