The Thanksgiving weekend has been a major release window for Disney for years. We’ve seen Walt Disney Animation Studios films released on the Wednesday before the holiday for the last several years, and we’ll see it happen for years to come. This year’s entry is the musical Encanto and in last night’s previews the movie put forth a solid $1.5 million in ticket sales, although the Lady Gaga-led House of Gucci also broke the $1 million mark, so it will be a horse race to see who takes the weekend box office crown.
House of Gucci saw a Tuesday night of $1.3 million, but it had a slight handicap as its previews started with 7pm showings, while Encanto started earlier in the day, at 4pm. So at least some of Encanto’s higher total would seem to be due to the fact that it simply got more screenings in. Having said that, being a family movie Encanto probably also saw larger groups going to see it, as parents took their kids, while only the parents would be going to see something like House of Gucci.
Encanto’s $1.5 million is a solid opening that outperforms pre-pandemic movies like Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, which, according to Deadline, did $1.3 million on the same weekend previously. Encanto’s numbers are down compared to what Moana and Coco put up for their Thanksgiving release, and maybe in a pre-pandemic release Encanto could have done the same, but it likely wasn’t going to happen under the current circumstances.
Encanto is projected to make $35 to $40 million over the long weekend. The movie is likely getting a boost from the fact that the movie is a theatrical only release. However, the movie is set to drop on Disney+ on Christmas Eve, so the movie will only have a theatrical exclusive window for a month. It’s unclear how many might have decided to wait because they knew the movie would be available at home fairly soon.
Black Friday tends to be one of the highest grossing days of the year theatrically, so it will be interesting to see what it looks like this year. It will likely still be a popular day to go to the movies, what’s unclear is how many people will be willing to venture out. The sheer fact that the day tends to be popular may be enough to keep some people away.
Who will ultimately win the weekend, the Oscar buzz drama from Ridley Scott or the family friendly Disney movie with music from Lin-Manual Miranda, will be an interesting question. The two movies are essentially neck and neck going into their first full day of release and both movies are reviewing very well.