While the Thanksgiving box office didn’t offer the usual great results that the movie theatre business has come to expect over the last decade, ticket sales for new titles fueled confidence that the recovery is well begun.
According to Comscore data, moviegoers in the United States and Canada spent roughly $142 million on tickets for films including “Encanto,” “House of Gucci,” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” over the five-day holiday weekend.
Although the total is not as high as in recent years, when ticket sales often exceeded $250 million, it shows consumer confidence in returning to theatres in the face of the pandemic.
“This weekend again showed how the box office continues to take baby steps in the long-term pandemic rebound,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst of BoxOffice.com. “Many consumers remain cautious, especially with new Covid variants making headlines.”
Disney’s “Encanto” took the top spot at the box office, grossing an estimated $40.3 million between Wednesday and Sunday. While this amount is lower than Disney’s prior Thanksgiving releases, such as “Frozen II,” which brought in $130 million over the five-day period, it is a promising sign for the film industry that families are returning to theatres.
During the pandemic, family-friendly films, particularly animated pictures, have mainly underperformed, as parents have kept their unvaccinated children at home. With rising vaccination rates and the recent approval of a vaccine for children aged five to eleven, there is optimism that the box office will improve significantly in the coming months.
During the holiday weekend, MGM and Universal’s “House of Gucci” grossed an estimated $21.2 million in the United States. Because the picture is aimed towards an older audience, some box office analysts were concerned that it would not make a substantial profit over the Thanksgiving weekend. Older audiences have been the slowest to return to theatres during the pandemic, and their absence has been noticed for films such as “No Time to Die” and “The Last Duel.”
′′’Encanto’ and ‘House of Gucci’ each made considerable strides toward bringing back families and adult moviegoers, respectively, without the draw of a franchise title,” Robbins said. “‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ also began to show its potential for staying power through the holiday season.”
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which was released a week before Thanksgiving, grossed an estimated $35.2 million in the United States. In its first two weeks in theatres, the picture is predicted to gross around $90 million in the United States and Canada.
“In any given year, the Thanksgiving frame is a barometer to measure how the final weeks of the box-office will play out,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The industry should be very encouraged by the strong support of consumers of the big screen experience heading further into the holidays and into 2022.”