Box Office Breakdown: “Encanto” sings its way to the top

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Leading the way again this weekend is the new Walt Disney Animation release “Encanto.” The musical animated film grossed another $12.74 million this weekend, a 53.2% dropoff from its previous Friday-Sunday. While this is not a terrible drop, considering it had no new competition this week and occupies a family animated musical genre that generally exhibits long legs, this is a bit of a disappointment. That being said, with its strong critical and audience reception, “Encanto” has hopes of good holds in the next few weekends. However, the film is about to enter a gauntlet of competition. Next week brings the release of the musical drama “West Side Story” and the week after that brings the hotly anticipated “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” While “Encanto” occupies the family crowd, these two films can and will attract family audiences, which really hurts expectations for the animated movie’s future. This was a big weekend for “Encanto” and unfortunately it didn’t come through. 

In second place this weekend is the Jason Reitman directed film, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” In its third weekend of release, the film dropped another 57.2% to gross $10.35 million. While this did push the film past $100 million domestically, the dropoff was quite steep for a third weekend. For a $75 million production budget picture, the gross is impressive, but like “Encanto,” this was an important weekend. Now “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” will not be a box-office disappointment due to it already eclipsing the century mark, but this was its last weekend without direct competition. With the acclaimed “West Side Story” and “Spider-Man” fast approaching, “Ghostbusters” is likely going to have even steeper drops these next few weeks. Although clearing $100 million domestically is impressive, the question is just how much more does it have in its tank? 

In third place is the Ridley Scott directed drama film “House of Gucci.” The Lady Gaga-led picture dropped 53% this past weekend and grossed $6.7 million taking its domestic total to $33.6 million. While this is an impressive gross for an adult-oriented drama, this film will not make a profit due to its reported $75 million budget. With the films coming out in the next few weeks, I think the film will struggle to clear $50 million domestically. Unfortunately, it’s looking like the “House of Gucci” is starting to crumble off the charts. 

In fourth and fifth place are “Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers” and “Eternals,” which grossed $4.1 million and $3.9 million respectively. I will be honest, I had never heard of “Christmas with the Chosen” before seeing it on the charts. It appears this film is a theatrically released event film about the nativity of Jesus. I am surprised this film was able to get such a wide release, though props to it for out-grossing “Eternals.” 

Looking ahead, as stated earlier, Steven Spielberg’s newest release “West Side Story” is coming to theaters this weekend. It is getting rave reviews from critics, though I would still temper expectations for the film’s box office. Musical movies are tough to judge – “In The Heights” got incredible reviews this summer and flopped on the charts. However, that film didn’t have Spielberg attached to it. Ultimately, I think “West Side Story” will net around $20 million this coming weekend. 

Since we approach UConn’s finals season and winter break, this is unfortunately the final box office breakdown of 2021. Though it wasn’t necessarily the year of charts we hoped for, it is incomparable to 2020. Having movies in theaters certainly makes the world much better. While there still is uncertainty with COVID-19 with variants and vaccination rates, we can’t help but get excited for what’s to come these next few weeks of 2021 and into 2022. The box office may not be back to its 2019 levels just yet, but we’re getting close. Perhaps all it needs is a web-slinger to save the day. 

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