Box Office Breakdown: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” reigns as “Strange World” confusingly crashes 

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Do not worry, after a break last week we are back and the box office is buzzing with stories. 

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has kept on rolling since we left and is now clear of $367 million domestically. This places it 6th at the 2022 domestic box office, though it is essentially guaranteed to move into third (passing “The Batman,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Jurassic World: Dominion”) after this week. Now in its third weekend of release, “Wakanda Forever” only dropped 31%, grossing $45.9 million. While the film is not holding as well as its 2018 predecessor, it is on track to close around $475 million domestically. As we mentioned previously, the film needs to gross around $888 million worldwide to profit. With $675 million earned by its third weekend, we shall see if the film has enough legs left to get to that total. I believe “Wakanda Forever” will end up grossing around $900 million worldwide, earning a profit. 

In second place this week is the newest Walt Disney Animation Studios film, “Strange World.” While in the past a Disney animated film would have grand anticipation, that was not the case with “Strange World.” The film faltered, earning only $11.9 million when it joined the charts. This can be attributed to a number of factors. For one, consumers are accustomed to watching family films on streaming. While “Encanto” was a somewhat successful film last year (earning $256 million worldwide) it did not become a global sensation until its release on Disney+ shortly thereafter. Additionally, Disney has not significantly invested into marketing this film’s release. Streaming is definitely a reason for that, or perhaps it was due to tempered expectations of “Strange World”’s critical and audience reception (the film earned a “B” CinemaScore — abysmal for a family film). However you slice it, with a reported $180 million budget, even factoring in the lessened marketing budget, the film needs to earn nearly $521 million worldwide to profit. With such a low opening weekend, the film will likely lose upwards of $175 million. But as we said before, Disney and “Strange World” have their eyes set on streaming. 

In third is another new release with major streaming implications — “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” In March 2021, Netflix paid $469 million for the rights to the next two Knives Out sequels. To fulfill its awards season requirements, this who-dunnit released in limited markets worldwide. From only 696 theaters, “Glass Onion” earned $9.4 million domestically this weekend. If the film had a wide release of 4000+ theaters, the film would have easily cleared $50 million in its opening. Netflix, with this strategy, is giving up a surefire $100-$150 million earner at the domestic box office for streaming, hoping to gain more subscribers by the time of its late December Netflix release. Will that gamble pay off? In all honesty, they will gain some subscribership, but not likely enough to make the $469 million price tag worth it. 

In fourth and fifth place are “Devotion” and “The Menu,” which earned $6 million and $5.2 million respectively. “Devotion” has a reported $90 million production budget, meaning that it needs to earn around $325 million worldwide to breakeven. With only a $6 million domestic opening, that is no longer possible, making the film on track to lose around $75-$80 million. The film has been well received, allowing the chance it plays throughout the holiday season, but the low opening guarantees a major loss. “The Menu” fell 42.3% this week to push its domestic total to $18.7 million. With a $30 million budget, the film needs to earn around $120 million worldwide to breakeven. This is unlikely considering the film’s current sum and this weekend’s drop, but we shall see how it will hold. 

Next week brings the start of a new month at the box office, as the December movie season falls upon us.  

There is one new release — “Violent Night.” The comedy action film is led by David Harbour as the famous holiday season hero Santa Claus, albeit an R-rated version of him. I predict the film will open to $20 million. 

We shall see, will “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” continue to rule the box office or will “Violent Night” ‘sleigh’ its competition? 

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