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Disney wins (and loses) Thanksgiving box office

The Thanksgiving box office results are in: Disney wins a third straight weekend with Wakanda Forever, but also loses big with Strange World.

Disney wins a third straight weekend with Wakanda Forever, but also loses big with Strange World flopping at the box office. (Images: Marvel Studios/Disney Animation)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever bounced back a bit, claiming the top spot in the Thanksgiving box office for the third week in a row. On the other hand, Strange World bombed big time.

Amidst the chaos in the Walt Disney Company with Bob Iger returning as CEO and the exit of Bob Chapek, having a mixed box office result for one of the biggest holidays in the year is not entirely promising.

How did the Thanksgiving box office look for Disney’s two major theatrical outings? Check out the details below.

According to reports, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever posted a $63.8 million third weekend gross over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday, $45.9 million of which is from the November 25 to 27 period. These results are slightly higher than earlier projections for Marvel Studios' final Phase Four film.

It is now slightly above the results of May 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on the third weekend showing, though not by much. The Black Panther sequel is now +7% above the Sorcerer Supreme’s second outing.

The Thanksgiving 5-day weekend was certainly a factor in the improved domestic box office compared to the previous week. However, does this mean it will overtake the $955 million final box office result of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? That remains to be seen, as while the domestic box office improved, the overseas box office is a different story.

While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever bounced back from a steeper 2nd weekend drop and topping the box office again on its third weekend, the Thanksgiving numbers for Strange World make it a clear flop.

While the domestic drop is only -30% for the third weekend, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s international gross dropped -53%. It should be noted that the first two to four weeks determine the bulk of a film’s box office returns. The numbers will continue to fall off, as theaters switch out showings to make way for newer releases. This is particularly significant when re-watches are key to keeping a film profitable towards the end of its theatrical window.

Does Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have the legs to carry the same success in December when Avatar: The Way of Water hits in a few weeks?

On the other end of the spectrum, Strange World has been an undeniable box office bomb. The newest production from Disney Animation Studios grossed a disappointing $19.28 million over the Thanksgiving weekend in the domestic box office, with $11.9 million brought in from the November 25 to 27 showings.

Including the international gross of $9.4 million, Strange World currently has a $28.7 million worldwide box office performance. This is the lowest box office showing for a Disney Animation feature film released during the Thanksgiving holidays. Even 2021's Encanto had a $27.2 million box office gross for its Thanksgiving debut.

According to sources, poor word of mouth and lack of clear marketing of what the science fiction adventure and family film is about are the main issues that led to Strange World’s lukewarm box office. Some pundits of the film also pointed out the apparent "woke" agenda in the characterizations.

While some groups have pointed out the poor marketing, others claim the "woke" elements from the film were also hurting Strange World's box office.

With the animated film being banned in certain Middle Eastern countries due to censorship and not having a release in China, Russia, and France, it is unlikely Strange World will be able to bounce back to recoup its losses.

Despite a stellar voice cast with Jake Gyllenhall, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, and Alan Tudyk, Strange World will lead to at least a $100 million loss for Disney.

Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Walt Disney Animation Studios' Strange World are currently running in theaters.

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Geoff Borgonia

Geoff Borgonia // Articles: 625

Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep.
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