Disney’s “Encanto” topped the Wednesday box office, netting a robust $7.5 million in its first full-day of release. The family film has heavy competition over the Thanksgiving holiday. Also vying for a major slice of the pie are MGM’s star-studded crime drama “House of Gucci,” which brought in an impressive $4.2 million on Wednesday, as well as Sony’s “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” which scored $2.5 million.
Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” topped the box office last weekend and will be a formidable presence this week. On Wednesday, the franchise reboot earned $5.4 million. That pushes its domestic haul to $57.9 million. Marvel’s “Eternals” picked up $1.9 million on Wednesday, bringing the superhero film’s stateside total to $141.1 million.
“House of Gucci” is trying to become the rare adult drama to connect with viewers. Other films aimed at older crowds, such as “King Richard” with Will Smith” and “Spencer” with Kristin Stewart, have failed to generate much in the way of ticket sales despite debuting with Oscar buzz. But those films lacked one thing that “House of Gucci” has in spades — Lady Gaga, who has a delicious, scenery chewing role as Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider who marries into the Gucci family, and whose obsession with power and privilege lead to her undoing. “House of Gucci” is directed by Ridley Scott, whose medieval epic “The Last Duel” flopped at the box office when it opened in October, and stars Adam Driver and Jared Leto. Reviews have been mixed, with some critics praising it as a skillful dissection of the monied elite and others decrying it as an overly ripe melodrama.
“Encanto” is expected to top the box office and generate $40 million over the five-day period, a more muted launch for a Disney holiday offering than previous Thanksgiving debuts from the Mouse House, such as “Frozen II” in 2019 ($123.7 million), “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in 2018 ($84.6 million), and “Coco” in 2017 ($71 million). But those movies bowed in pre-pandemic times, so if “Encanto” can deliver on those estimates it will rank as a relative victory at a moment when ticket sales are depressed industry-wide and COVID rates are on the rise again. If “Encanto” over-performs, that may be the result of a vaccination push to put shots in the arms of children between five to 11, which could make families more confident about returning to cinemas.
Elsewhere, look for “House of Gucci” to pull in $17 million to $20 million, while the “Resident Evil” sequel grosses $15 million over the five-day period.
Featuring original music from “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Encanto” follows a family living hidden in a magical town in the mountains of Colombia. They’re all blessed with prodigious gifts, except for Mirabel (voiced by “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Stephanie Beatriz), who lacks her siblings’ superhuman abilities. However, it is Mirabel who discovers that the supernatural powers protecting the village of Encanto are in danger of collapsing, which means it will fall to her to save her home and those she loves. The film is a hit with critics with Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman praising it as “a lively, lovely, lushly enveloping digitally animated musical fairy tale.”
As America gathers around their dinner tables to give thanks, the exhibition industry is hoping fervently that consumers chase down the pumpkin pie and turkey with a visit to the local multiplex. If they do, the battered cinema business will have a lot to celebrate this holiday season.