Weekend box office predictions are provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.
The Thanksgiving weekend box office will be led by Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age. The computer animated sequel to 2013’s The Croods represents the highest profile film released domestically since the Labor Day weekend debut of Tenet. Unfortunately, The Croods: A New Age is arriving in a marketplace that is in the middle of experiencing the re-closing of theatres throughout various areas of the United States and Canada due to reimplemented COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, The Croods: A New Age is only opening in 2,211 domestic locations this weekend (which is roughly half the theatre count for a high-profile animated film prior to COVID-19). To help make up for theatre closings and seating capacity limits, The Croods: A New Age will be receiving a high amount of daily screenings at many theatres (the film looks to be receiving the highest opening weekend showtimes per-location average of any film since Tenet). Also coming into play for The Croods: A New Age is that relative demand for a sequel to The Croods wasn’t all that high to begin with (especially with seven years having passed since the first film).
Recently, The War with Grandpa and some of Disney’s re-issues have shown that there is still at least some overall demand for family fare in the current marketplace. Last month The War with Grandpa opened with $3.62 million from a similar 2,250 locations (for a per-location average of $1,610). With higher demand, better critical reviews, an IMAX boost and more than double the opening weekend showtimes that The War with Grandpa had at many theatres, The Croods: A New Age has a number of advantages in the comparison with The War with Grandpa. At the same time, The Croods: A New Age is also dealing with tougher COVID-19 restrictions than The War with Grandpa had to deal with back in October and will also see its debut spread out from the five-day holiday launch. Look for The Croods: A New Age to take in $6.5 million over the three-day weekend (for a per-location average of $2,940) and $9.0 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame. That will make The Croods: A New Age the fifth consecutive #1 film at the domestic box office for Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (a streak that The Croods: A New Age will likely extend an additional three more weeks after this weekend).
After topping the box office each of the past two weekends, fellow Universal release Freaky is likely to claim second place this weekend. Last weekend, Freaky was down a very sharp 64 percent to take in $1.28 million, though it should also be noted that the marketplace as a whole took a significant hit last weekend from the mentioned theatre re-closings throughout parts of the United States and Canada. Freaky and holdovers in general will continue to lose more locations this weekend (Freaky will be playing in 1,735 locations this weekend – down 322 from last weekend), but there should still be some stabilization from last weekend’s declines thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday frame (especially with non-family films not facing any new direct competition this weekend). Freaky should also benefit a bit this weekend from having the second most showtimes per location of any film at most theatres (behind only The Croods: A New Age). A 30 percent decline would give Freaky $0.90 million this weekend.
Like everything else in the marketplace, 101 Studios’ The War with Grandpa lost some momentum last weekend, but the family film is likely to re-stabilize over Thanksgiving weekend. Even with new competition for family audiences from The Croods: A New Age, The War with Grandpa will still serve as the primary alternative choice for family audiences not interested in The Croods 2 this weekend (especially for those in the mood for a non-animated film). Family films in general also tend to hold up well over Thanksgiving weekend and The War with Grandpa will also benefit from maintaining most of its locations and showtimes from last weekend (the film will be playing in 1,500 locations this weekend – down just 188 from last weekend). A slim 9 percent decline would transfer into $0.68 million for The War with Grandpa this weekend.
This weekend’s latest re-issue from Disney is a re-issue of Walt Disney Animation’s 2013 computer animated blockbuster Frozen. Over the past several weeks, the more recent re-issues from Disney have mostly been performing very similar to one another, as re-issues of Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Santa Clause have all opened in the area of $0.406 million to $0.505 million. Given the strong fanbase of Frozen, a re-issue of Frozen should have a bit more potential than Disney’s last few re-issues, but at the same time Frozen also won’t be opening in as many locations; 1,357 locations versus a range of 1,560 to 2,102 locations for the other four re-issues in question and will have its performance spread out over the five-day holiday frame. With that in mind, Frozen could see a slightly higher per-location average than Disney’s last few re-issues, but have a three-day debut in the same general range. Frozen could be in store for a fourth place three-day take of $0.48 million this weekend (for a per-location average just under $355) and a five-day holiday gross of $0.65 million.
Holdovers Let Him Go and Come Play from Focus could find themselves both very close to Frozen in this weekend’s rankings. Following a stronger than expected start, Let Him Go has been unable to stabilize over the past two weeks and could experience a 35 percent decrease to take in $0.47 million this weekend (from 1,447 locations). Come Play has been holding up significantly better than Let Him Go the past two weeks and is likely to continue to do so this weekend by declining 20 percent to take in $0.45 million (from 1,029 locations). Respective total grosses for the two Focus releases are very similar, as at the end of the weekend Come Play should be at roughly $8.8 million and Let Him Go should be at roughly $8.7 million.