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Weekend Box Office: BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES Beats Both NAPOLEON and WISH on Thanksgiving Frame

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Courtesy of Lionsgate. Photo Credit: Murray Close

#1 = The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Last frame, Lionsgate’s dystopian action prequel started in first place with $44.6M, substantially below the openings for all four installments in the original franchise.

It opened -56% below the last Hunger Games film, equalling 2016’s first Fantastic Beasts prequel which also debuted -56% off from the final Harry Potter.

Now in its sophomore frame, Songbirds declines only -35% to $28.8M. Such a mild drop, doubtless helped by the Thanksgiving holiday, is significantly better than the second-week drops earned by:

  • 2012’s The Hunger Games = -62%
  • 2013’s Catching Fire = -53%
  • 2014’s Mockingjay Part 1 = also -53%
  • 2015’s Mockingjay Part 2 = -49%

As a result, Songbirds and Snakes wins the box office weekend, despite some pre-release projections putting it in third place behind the two big new releases.

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes director Francis Lawrence here.

#2 = Napoleon

Sony Pictures and Apple Studios’ historical drama earned $20.4M over its three-day opening weekend and a $32.5M five-day total following its midweek opening on Wednesday.

The film’s five-day total is running +15% ahead of October’s Killers of the Flower Moon, another historical drama from Apple Studios, which at the same point had brought in $28.2M.

It’s also running +47% ahead of the five-day total for director Ridley Scott’s 2021 House of Gucci: $22.0M.

Overseas / global

Though it came in second at the domestic box office, Napoleon  opens atop the global box office with $46.3M overseas and $78.8M globally, or 58% overseas.

The top five overseas markets are:

  1. U.K.: $6.6M
  2. France: $5.6M
  3. Germany: $3.4M
  4. Spain: $3.3M
  5. Italy: $3.1M

Major markets still to release include China, Japan, and South Korea.

#3 = Wish

After opening midweek on Wednesday, Disney’s animated musical failed to win the Thanksgiving frame—or even come in the top two—with a $19.5M opening weekend and a $31.7M five-day total.

That five-day total is running far below the other animated musicals released by Disney on Wednesdays of Thanksgiving weeks past:

  • -53% below 2010’s Tangled = $68.7M
  • -61% below 2016’s Moana = $82.0M
  • -66% below 2013’s Frozen = $93.5M

Demographics

The audience for Wish was an estimated 64% female. That’s more female than the opening weekends for Frozen II at 59% and Moana at 55%, but less than May’s The Little Mermaid at 68%.

The audience was also 52% older than age 25. That’s slightly older than Moana at 42%, Frozen II at 47%, and Mermaid at 50%.

Overseas / global

Wish opens with $17.3M overseas in only 27 markets and $49.0M globally, or 35% overseas. (That percentage will surely rise as more overseas markets open.)

That global opening is -32% below Moana, which began with a $72.9M global opening.

Ultimately, unless it holds far better than expected, Wish looks unlikely to match the final global totals of:

  • Moana: $629.6M globally, 60% overseas
  • Tangled: $582.4M globally, 65% overseas

The top overseas markets for Wish include:

  1. China: $3.5M
  2. U.K.: $3.0M
  3. Mexico: $2.1M
  4. Spain: $1.5M

Its China opening begins -71% below Moana ($12.3M).

Major markets still to release France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Australia, South Korea, and Brazil.

#4 = Trolls Band Together

Last frame, Universal’s animated three-quel started in second place with $30.0M. That was -35% below 2016’s original Trolls: $46.5M.

(2020’s second installment, Trolls World Tour, was originally intended for theatrical release but pivoted to a PVOD release early in the Covid pandemic.)

Now in its sophomore frame, Band falls -42% to $17.5M.

That’s a considerably steeper sophomore drop than was had by the original Trolls, which fell -25%. It’s also slightly steeper than Trolls‘ -39% drop on Thanksgiving weekend 2016, its fourth frame.

Compared to some of this year’s other animated releases, Band falls steeper than June’s Elemental at -38%, but milder than:

  • August’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem with -45%
  • September’s PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie at -50%

Overseas / global

Band falls -57% in overseas holdover markets, steeper than its -42% domestic drop.

After a staggered international rollout beginning in mid-October, it’s now earned $81.3M overseas and $145.8M globally, or 55% overseas.

It’s aiming to match 2016’s original Trolls which earned $189.5M overseas and $343.2M globally, or 55% overseas. 

#5 = Thanksgiving

Last frame, the Sony Pictures holiday-themed horror started in third place with $10.3M.

Now in its sophomore frame, it falls -31% to $7.1M.

Comparisons are few and far between, but that sophomore drop is slightly milder than 2022’s R-rated holiday-themed film Violent Night at -35%.

Overseas / global

Thanksgiving falls -37% in overseas holdover markets, slightly steeper than its -31% domestic drop.

Playing In only 16 overseas markets, it’s earned $4.9M overseas and $29.1M globally, or 16% overseas.

Major markets still to release include France, Mexico, and Brazil.

#6 = The Marvels

Last weekend, in its sophomore frame, Disney’s superhero sequel posted by far the steepest sophomore among all 33 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) installments: -78%.

The previous steepest drop was just earlier this year: February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with -69.9%.

Now in its third frame, The Marvels falls a significantly milder -37% to $6.4M.

The Marvels appears almost certain to finish with a final domestic total less than the opening weekend alone for 2019’s predecessor Captain Marvel: $153.4M.

Overseas / global

The Marvels falls -60% in overseas holdover markets, significantly steeper than its -37% domestic drop.

It has now earned $110.2M overseas and $187.1M globally, or 58% overseas.

It appears certain not to reach its predecessor’s global $455M opening even by the end of its run, with Captain Marvel’s $1.13B final global total also looking well out of reach.

The Marvels appears poised to become either the lowest-grossing or second-lowest MCU film globally. Currently, the lowest is The Incredible Hulk with $265M, followed by 2011’s Captain America: The First Avengers with $370M.

#10 = Saltburn

Last weekend, the Amazon MGM Studios psychological thriller opened with $322,651 in seven theaters. That $46,093 per-theater average ranks #6 of 2023 so far, behind only:

  1. June’s Asteroid City: $142,230
  2. April’s Beau is Afraid: $80,099
  3. June’s Past Lives: $58,067
  4. July’s Theater Camp: $50,203
  5. August’s Bottoms: $46,105

Now in its sophomore frame, it expands to a moderate 1,566 theaters, around 40% the reach of the widest film in the marketplace.

It also enters the top 10, in tenth place with $1.7M and a $2.7M five-day weekend.

The second release from writer-director Emerald Fennell, it will aim to match her theatrical debut’s final total: 2020’s pandemic-hindered Promising Young Woman with $6.4M.

#11 = Next Goal Wins

Last weekend, Searchlight Pictures’ sports comedy failed to get the ball into the net with a $2.5M start in eighth place.

Now in its sophomore frame, it falls -32% to $1.7M.

That’s slightly steeper than writer-director Taika Waititi’s last (non-Thor) release: 2019’s Jojo Rabbit at -30%.

However, it’s milder than for:

  • September’s Dumb Money = -36%
  • March’s Champions, another similar comedy about a hapless sports team = -40%


Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $114.4M.

Here’s how this weekend compares to last weekend, the same weekend last year, and the same weekend in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Weekend

Total

This weekend is:

Leader

Last weekend

$115.4M

-1%

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes = $44.6M

Same weekend in 2022

$93.7M

+22%

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, third frame = $45.5M

Same weekend in 2019

$204.9M

-44%

Frozen II = $130.2M

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $8.13B.

Through the equivalent point, here’s how that compares to last year and the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Year

YTD total

2023 YTD now:

After last weekend:

Trend

2022

$6.62B

+22.9%

+22.3%

Up

2019

$9.91B

-17.9%

-18.0%

Up

Top distributors

Grouped by parent company, the YTD leaders are:

  1. Disney + 20th Century + Searchlight + Star: $1.84B
  2. Universal + Focus Features: $1.829B
  3. Warner Bros.: $1.15B
  4. Sony Pictures + Sony Classics + Crunchyroll + Affirm: $929.5M
  5. Paramount: $838.8M

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes $28,820,000 -35% $3,776   $7,632 $98,370,000 2 Lionsgate
Napoleon $20,400,000   $3,500   $5,829 $32,500,000 1 Sony Pictures
Wish $19,500,000   $3,900   $5,000 $31,700,000 1 Disney
Trolls Band Together $17,520,000 -42% $3,893 23 $4,500 $64,468,000 2 Universal
Thanksgiving $7,150,000 -31% $3,204   $2,232 $24,193,000 2 Sony Pictures
The Marvels $6,400,000 -37% $3,070 -960 $2,085 $76,853,446 3 Disney
The Holdovers $2,740,000 2% $1,601 123 $1,711 $12,880,000 5 Focus Features [Universal]
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour 2,330,000 -16% $946 -627 $2,463 $178,265,894 7 AMC Theatres Distribution
Five Nights at Freddy’s $1,750,000 -51% $1,754 -1,075 $998 $136,209,000 5 Universal
Saltburn 1,735,000 438% $1,566 1,559 $1,108 $3,098,000 2 Amazon Studios
Next Goal Wins $1,700,000 -32% $2,240   $759 $5,742,770 2 Searchlight [Disney]
Priscilla $1,300,032 -44% $1,063 -739 $1,223 $19,602,138 5 A24
Killers of the Flower Moon $1,025,000 -48% $767 -947 $1,336 $65,614,000 6 Paramount
Radical $750,600 -22% $325 -136 $2,310 $7,812,897 4 Pantelion Films
Dream Scenario 639,521 149% $124 99 $5,157 $1,387,818 3 A24
Journey to Bethlehem $615,000 -39% $1,384 -618 $444 $5,690,293 3 Sony Pictures
Fallen Leaves 42,510 -13% $8 6 $5,314 $115,615 2 MUBI
Oppenheimer 32,000 -26% $102 -2 $314 $325,367,000 19 Universal
The Exorcist: Believer $21,000 -84% $35 -260 $600 $65,531,000 8 Universal
Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros $6,500   $1   $6,500 $8,500 1 Zipporah
The Disappearance of Shere Hite $2,538 -84% $2   $1,269 $20,821 2 IFC Films
Common Ground $1,500 -83% $2 -2 $750 $215,506 9 Area 23a

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