Hollywood has stopped running away from the pandemic, with a wide range of new films hitting theaters for the first time since March 2020 for an exclusive holiday weekend. And studios have not hedged their bets by offering simultaneous streaming capabilities. To see the superbly reviewed Encanto, the campy crime drama House of Gucci, or the latest sci-fi action movie Resident Evil, you had to get off the couch like the old days.
But it is very difficult to get some moviegoers back.
Encanto, the original Disney animated musical about a gifted Columbian family, grossed $ 40.3 million in 3,980 North American theaters from Wednesday to Sunday. Steve Buck, director of strategy at research firm EntTelligence, said that the amount needed for # 1 was about 3.7 million visitors, or about 35 percent of available seats. The film was rated “excellent” by ticket buyers on the CinemaScore exit poll.
Widely released outside the US, with the notable exceptions of China and Australia, Encanto grossed an additional $ 29.3 million. “It may take a while for people to discover Encanto by word of mouth and feedback,” Disney said in a post on Sunday, referring to audiences overseas where the weekend was not a holiday. According to box office analysts, news of the Omicron variant may have lowered turnout in Europe.
Disney, which spent about $ 175 million to build Encanto, plus tens of millions in marketing expenses, hoped that the family audience was finally ready to return to theaters on a massive scale. On November 2, in the United States, children under the age of five were eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. For the first time this year, Disney did not send reporters an upfront consultation on poor market conditions.
“This is a good discovery by pandemic standards and a weak discovery by historical Disney standards,” David A. Gross, chief executive of consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research, said in an email Sunday.
“Encanto” features songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose music helped the Disney cartoon Moana sell $ 82.1 million in tickets over the five-day Thanksgiving period in 2016. In part because studios have shifted animated films from theaters to streaming services – Pixar’s Luca ran exclusively on Disney + in the United States in the summer – the genre accounts for one of the largest box office grosses lost during the pandemic. In 2019, animated videos grossed $ 4.6 billion worldwide. Mr. Gross calculated the animation will conclude this year with ticket sales of about $ 1.65 billion, a decrease of about 64 percent.
However, domestic ticket sales for Encanto set a pandemic-era record for an animated film. That glory is somewhat empty considering that all other major animated films since March 2020 have been released simultaneously in theaters and on streaming services. (These included Universal’s Boss Baby: A Family Business and Paramount’s Paw Patrol The Movie.) Encanto will be released on Disney + on December 24th.
The final rendition of Encanto in both theaters and Disney + is likely to inform Disney about plans to release animated films in the coming year. “Most of the franchises we had at Walt Disney were created through the theater show distribution channel,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek told analysts during a November 10 earnings conference call. at the same time, we are looking very, very carefully at different types of films to see how different components of the demographic situation in this market come back. “
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“We’re still not sure how the market will react when family films return with a window in theaters in the first place,” he added.
Over the North American holiday weekend, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife was the strongest in second place, grossing $ 35.3 million between Wednesday and Sunday, of which a two-week domestic tak was $ 87.8 million, according to Comscore, which collects data on box office receipts. … Ghostbusters: Life After Death, released November 19, took part of the family business from Encanto, box office analysts say.
“House of Gucci” with Lady Gaga in the ensemble took third place. In five days, tickets were sold for about $ 21.8 million. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which has spent nearly $ 70 million creating an R-rated crime drama on top of significant marketing spending, noted Sunday that only 34 percent of ticket buyers were over 45.
“As with families, older moviegoers are reluctant to return to the movies and watch more entertainment at home,” said Mr Gross. “Under normal circumstances, the film opens 50 percent higher, but that’s very good.”
In a positive sign for prestigious films – December is the peak season with Oscar nominees coming out every weekend – Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, released by United Artists, sizzled in limited editions. The R-rated film, a mixture of comedy, drama and romance, grossed $ 335,000 in four cinemas – two in New York and two in Los Angeles – at $ 83,852 per theater. It was the best special film debut in nearly two years.