Disney’s ‘Wish’ Tops Box Office Heading Into Thanksgiving newsbhunt


Hollywood might not be feeling so festive this Thanksgiving.

The holiday period is traditionally a busy time for moviegoing, but audiences aren’t turning out in force over Turkey Day, leaving the box office suffering from too much tryptophan. In this drowsy state of play, Disney’s “Wish” earned a lackluster $8.3 million on Wednesday. The animated film, which tells the origin story of the wishing star that’s featured prominently in other Disney adventures, cost a hefty $200 million to produce. It is projected to earn more than $37 million over the five-day period, a disappointing number given its cost and another sign that the studio is mired in a creative and commercial rut. Disney, once a teflon brand, has seen both its animation business and its Marvel division struggle to maintain their fanbases. In the case of “Wish,” the hope is that families seek out the film over the holiday season, which could compensate for the slow start (that happened with last summer’s “Elemental,” which finished much stronger than its poor opening weekend would have suggested).

Apple Original Productions’ “Napoleon,” a $200 million Ridley Scott epic, grossed $7.7 million on Wednesday for a second place finish. It is expected to earn more than $30 million over the five-day period. Globally, “Napoleon” should generate roughly $65 million. On one hand, it’s a solid number considering that the film is over two hours long, carries an R rating, and centers on a long-dead military genius, but the budget is eye-popping.

It’s also a sign of where things may be headed in a movie business that’s still struggling to re-adjust its business models for the streaming era. For a traditional movie studio — one interested in, say, profits and losses — a result like that could be worrisome, potentially foretelling a lot of red ink that will need to be mopped up. But Apple, with its nearly $3 trillion market cap, prefers to look at these expenditures as marketing costs. It wants to generate buzz for Apple TV+, its streaming service. At least that was how the industry chose to view the financial results for Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which Apple shelled out $200 million to make, only to see it earn less than $150 million globally. It’s unclear if Tim Cook and crew will continue to see this as a winning strategy, but exhibitors are certainly happy to have Apple essentially subsidizing their industry as it looks to raise the profiles of the movies it releases. Joaquin Phoenix stars as the French dictator in Scott’s historical drama, which has received mixed reviews from critics. Sony Pictures is distributing the movie for Apple.

In third place, Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” earned $7.3, bringing its domestic total to roughly $63.6 million. The return to Panem hasn’t been as lucrative as the original series. Still, the prequel is expected to end the five-day stretch with $40 million. Unlike its pricey competition, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” cost $100 million to produce — a relatively economical budget for a blockbuster hopeful. As it stands, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” has a strong chance of overtaking “Wish” over the five-day holiday to become the week’s highest grossing film. That would be a major upset. Even if it falls short, the “Hunger Games” prequel should end the week having generated nearly $100 million at the domestic box office.

Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls Band Together” took fourth place with $5.1 million. It’s expected to earn $27 million over the five days, bringing its earnings to $66 million. That left TriStar and Spyglass Media’s “Thanksgiving” in fifth place. The holiday-themed horror flick grossed $1.8 million on Wednesday and is expected to generate $10.1 million over the five day period, lifting its domestic gross to $23.2 million.

“The Marvels,” the latest comic book adventure in the MCU, continued to crater, earning $1.5 million on Wednesday. That brings its stateside gross to a less-than-heroic $69.1 million, a disastrous result for Marvel.

This Thanksgiving holiday is expected to lap the last two post-pandemic editions, generating nearly $190 million in revenues. That would top the 2021 five-day haul, which hit $142.7 million and the 2022 edition, which topped out at $142.7 million. Even if it does beat those figures, the 2023 Thanksgiving period will result in a lot less gravy than the 2019 one, where total revenues ended up at $263.4 million, or the 2018 extravaganza, when they hit a record-shattering $315.6 million.

Clearly, there’s still a lot of ground to make up.



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