‘Wakanda Forever’ To Win 4th Weekend While ‘Violent Night’ Could Continue Solid Run Of Mid-Budget Genre Films
The post-Thanksgiving weekend box office is typically weak, primarily made up of declining holdovers from the holiday frame. This weekend is no exception, but the decline is from a much smaller base than usual, with the $93.8 million Thanksgiving three-day and $134 million five-day weekend numbers being even worse than last year’s and the worst in decades by pre-pandemic standards. The year looks to end on a relatively high note, with just two weeks left until Avatar: The Way of Water is unleashed, but until then it will be a quiet fortnight at the box office.

Once again, this weekend will belong to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. That the film will top the box office for the fourth time (and likely the fifth time next weekend) may say more about the lack of serious competition in the marketplace than about the film’s performance, but its box office numbers are undeniably strong. Following the MCU film’s $45.6 million Thanksgiving three-day and $63.8 million five-day weekend, it should stay above $20 million in this outing, which will push the cume ($372 million as of Tuesday) towards $400 million, if not beyond it, becoming just the third film this year to cross that line. By next weekend, Black Panther 2 will pass Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ $411 million cume to become the second best grosser of the year. Worldwide it is in seventh place with $681 million, and it should at least make it into the year’s top five, pulling ahead of The Batman’s $771 million, if not getting further.

Taking second place will be Universal’s Violent Night, the one new entrant that looks to command a decent audience and the only other film likely to make the double digit millions. The Christmas-set action comedy is about a team of mercenaries (whose leader is played by John Leguizamo) robbing the mansion of a wealthy family (whose matriarch is played Beverly D’Angelo), with the only hope of saving the day coming from the one and only Santa Claus (played by David Harbour). Genre films have been reliable through these difficult box office times, and Violent Night could continue the trend of modestly budgeted titles (this one cost $20 million) doing solid if not especially strong numbers (see Barbarian and The Menu), which is better than most films can claim as of late. A very optimistic holiday season comp would be Krampus, which opened to $16.3 million in the post-Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 and legged out to $42.7 million. The reviews are leaning positive here, with the Tomatometer coming in at 70%.

It’s unfortunately possible that nothing else even passes $5 million for the weekend. That question rides on whether Strange World can have a decent hold or if it nosedives after its poor opening ($12.2 million for the three-day and $18.9 million for the five-day). A 60% drop would put it at $4.9 million for the weekend, though if it plays like Encanto, which had a 52% drop, that would put the second weekend at $5.9 million. Encanto had a better audience response (A CinemaScore compared to Strange World’s B), though Strange World could still have similar legs as it had a smaller opening to begin with, doing less than half of what Encanto did at the Thanksgiving weekend last year. However, even solid legs can’t make up for the low opening on this expensive Disney Animation flick.

There are a few noteworthy films in the specialty box office, though don’t expect any to shake up the box office. Focus is giving the bestselling memoir adaptation Spoiler Alert a limited release before going wide next weekend, A24 is releasing the Tilda Swinton starring gothic mystery The Eternal Daughter in limited, Crunchyroll has their latest anime release with The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie, and Apple’s Will Smith starring slavery thriller Emancipation is theatrical exclusive for a week before it hits Apple+.

Finally, amidst the drought of big new titles between Black Panther 2 and Avatar 2 (sequels to the sixth and fourth all time highest grossers respectively), Top Gun: Maverick (the fifth highest grosser of all time) is swooping back into theaters, including IMAX and other premium large formats. The two week limited engagement, which gives the film a chance to crack the top ten for the 22nd time, comes ahead of the December 22nd Paramount+ release.