There’s high drama at the Thanksgiving box office.
Heading into the long holiday corridor, Disney Animation’s music-infused original event pic Wish was expected to rule the feast. Now, the family film could come in behind Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Napoleon, from Apple Original Films and Sony.
The Hunger Games prequel will easily top the holiday chart in North America with a projected gross of $40 million-plus for the Wednesday to Sunday corridor after earning a hearty $11.4 million on Friday. The movie, which opened the weekend before Thanksgiving, will finish Sunday with a 10-day domestic total of nearly $100 million.
In a surprise twist, Ridley Scott’s new historical epic Napoleon is in a close race with Wish for No. 2. The historical epic, starring Joaquin Phoenix, grossed $8.4 million on Friday for a projected five-day debut of $32 million to $33 million. Napoleon — a win for Apple’s theatrical ambitions — is coming in well ahead of expectations for an adult drama (the vast majority of ticket buyers are 35 and older). Its performance is also impressive considering it only earned a B- CinemaScore from moviegoers.
Napoleon is the second big theatrical swing from Apple Original Films after Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which is currently in theaters via Paramount. Apple Original Films fully financed the two tentpoles, which both have Oscar ambitions. Sony is Apple’s global distribution and marketing partner on Napoleon.
Heading into the Thanksgiving frame, Napoleon was looking at a five-day holiday cume of $22 million to $25 million.
Tracking had Wish, an original story with no affiliated IP, topping the Thanksgiving chart with a five-day feast of $45 million to $50 million. Instead, it is likewise looking at a five-day gross in the $32 million to $33 million range.
Disney has suffered a rocky year at the box office, capped by recent bust The Marvels. Wish, which earned $8.3 million on Wednesday, could overcome a soft opening if it plays throughout December and into the year-end holidays, buoyed by an A- CinemaScore and strong PostTrak exits.
Universal and Illumination’s Trolls Band Together is looking at a fourth-place finish with an estimated five-day gross of $25.5 million.
TriStar and Spyglass Media’s slasher pic ‘Thanksgiving’ will round out the top five in its second weekend with an estimated five-day cume of $11.4 million.
At the awards box office, Focus Features’ The Holdovers looks to come in No. 7 with five-day holiday earnings in the $4 million range.
Searchlight’s Next Goal Wins and MGM/Amazon’s Saltburn are each looking at five-day grosses in the $2.7 million range.