Stephanie Beatrice voices Mirabelle Madrigal in Disney’s Encanto.
While the Thanksgiving box office hasn’t yielded the typically strong results that the movie theater industry has expected over the past decade, ticket sales for new films have given confidence that a recovery is underway.
Over the five-day holiday weekend, US and Canadian moviegoers spent about $ 142 million on tickets to films such as Encanto, Gucci House and Ghostbusters: The Afterlife, according to Comscore.
The catch is not as robust as in previous years, when ticket sales often exceeded $ 250 million, but it demonstrates consumer confidence that they will return to theaters amid the pandemic.
“This weekend has shown again how the box office continues to take small steps in the long-term recovery of the pandemic,” said Sean Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Many consumers remain wary, especially with the new Covid variants making headlines.”
The first place at the box office went to Disney’s “Encanto”, which grossed about $ 40.3 million from Wednesday to Sunday. While that figure is much lower than recent Disney releases for Thanksgiving, including Frozen 2, which grossed $ 130 million for a five-day shot, it’s a positive for the film industry as families feel more comfortable returning to theaters.
Family films, especially animated ones, were largely unsuccessful during the pandemic as parents kept their unvaccinated children at home. With the rise in vaccination rates and the recent approval of a vaccine for children ages 5-11, it is hoped that box office receipts will improve significantly in the coming months.
The Gucci House, distributed by MGM and Universal, received approximately $ 21.2 million domestically over the long weekend. Some box office analysts targeting older audiences feared the film would not be a big hit during Thanksgiving. During the pandemic, older audiences were the slowest to return to theaters, and their absence was felt in titles such as No Time to Die and The Last Duel.
“Encanto and House of Gucci have made significant strides in bringing families and adult moviegoers back, respectively, without using the franchise name,” said Robbins. Ghostbusters: The Afterlife has also begun to show its potential to stay strong during the holiday season. “
Released the week before Thanksgiving, Ghostbusters: The Afterlife added approximately $ 35.2 million to total sales. In the US and Canada, ticket sales for the film are expected to be around $ 90 million in the first two weeks in theaters.
“In any year, the Thanksgiving frame is a barometer that measures how the final weeks of box office sales will play out,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The industry needs to be very encouraged by strong support for big screen consumers ahead of the holidays and in 2022.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.