The Walt Disney Co. DIS continued its dominance of the U.S. box office over the extended holiday weekend with the release of the animated feature “Encanto,” which grossed $40.3 million across the Wednesday-through-Sunday span from a release in 3,980 theaters.
What Happened: Despite landing in the top berth of the weekend’s top 10 and scoring the best opening weekend numbers for an animated feature in the pandemic era, the five-day gross for “Encanto” was considerably lower than the box office takes for earlier Disney animated films that opened over the Thanksgiving period, including “Frozen II” in 2019 ($123.7 million), “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in 2018 ($84.6 million) and “Coco” in 2017 ($71 million).
Also, “Encanto” had strong competition from last week’s box office champ, Sony Pictures’ SONY “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which finished in a close second place behind the Disney film with $35.2 million from 4,315 theaters during the five-day haul.
Still, “Encanto” proved to be the strongest of three new films that opened in nationwide release over the Thanksgiving holiday. MGM-United Artists Releasing’s crime drama “House of Gucci” starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver was the third-highest grossing film, absorbing $21.8 million in five days from 3,441 locations.
The weekend’s third premiere, Sony Pictures’ “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” underperformed with an $8.8 million take over the five-day span from 2,803 venues – that film ranked fifth among box office top 10. Disney’s “Eternals,” in its fourth week of release, took the fourth-place berth in the top 10 with $11.4 million from 3,165 screens.
The weekend’s strongest showing among specialty films was United Artists Releasing’s presentation of Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age comedy “Licorice Pizza” – although it only opened in four theaters (three in New York City and one in Los Angeles) on Friday, it averaged a highly impressive $83,800 per venue where it premiered, resulting in a weekend gross of $335,000.
What Happens Next: The upcoming weekend is conspicuously absent of major national releases, although a number of smaller films being positioned for the next round of movie awards are opening in limited release. These include the Italian drama “The Power of God” from director Paolo Sorrentino, the documentary “Citizen Ashe” about tennis legend Arthur Ashe and Paul Verhoeven’s drama “Benedetta” about the controversies surrounding the 17th century nun Benedetta Carlini.
Grittier entertainment opening in the coming weekend includes Saban Films’ action-adventure “Deadlock” starring Bruce Willis, Amazon’s AMZN science-fiction film "Encounter" starring Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer, and Gravitas Ventures’ “Home” starring Jake McLaughlin as a recently released convict trying to assimilate into a home town that doesn’t desire his presence.
Also Happening: The Jerusalem Cinematheque’s Israel Film Archive has recently launched its Digital Film Archive, which offers an online forum presenting the Israeli motion picture and video experience from the late 19th century to the present.
The new archive includes two main on-demand options: The Artistic View, with a selection of feature and documentary films made in Israel, and The Historical View that explores Israel’s history through thousands of rare archival materials. The Historical View is accessible and free of charge and The Artistic View contains 300 feature films, some of which are accessible for a small fee.
Photo: "Encanto," courtesy of Disney.
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