The Thanksgiving holiday is often a very busy weekend at the box office, with studios putting out some of their most highly-anticipated movies on the Wednesday before Turkey Day. Perhaps indicative of the sagging box office trend in 2017, that is not the case this year, with Disney Pixar's Coco being the only major studio movie to open in wide release. Bleecker Street's The Man Who Invented Christmas is also opening nationwide alongside Paramount's expanding drama Roman J. Israel, Esq., although neither of those movies is expected to give Coco much competition. We're projecting that Coco will take the top spot with $60.2 million over the three day-weekend, and $92.6 million over the five-day holiday weekend, while the box office disappointment that is Justice League likely poised for a huge drop in the coming days.
If Disney Pixar's Coco does hit its projection, it will mark a decent three-day improvement over its last outing, the dreadful sequel Cars 3, which opened with $53.6 million, an opening weekend that is a bit on the low side for Pixar movies, although that represented a third of its domestic total of $152.9 million, the second lowest domestic total in Pixar history, behind 2015's The Good Dinosaur ($123 million). Still, while Cars 3 put together a decent critical score of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, Coco most certainly has the critics on its side, with an impressive 95% rating on RT, while The Man Who Invented Christmas is also a critical hit at 93%, although the critics are mixed on Roman J. Israel, Esq., with a middling 57% score. It will be interesting to see if this original animated hit, set within the Land of the Dead, will overperform this weekend since it's the only major studio release.
While Coco's projected $60.2 million opening, debuting in 3,948 theaters, may not be huge by Pixar standards, especially when compared to the $135 million debut of Finding Dory last year, it's still an impressive opening for a completely original movie without a built-in fan base. The movie has already proven to be a huge hit in Mexico, setting a new box office record last week by becoming the highest-grossing movie ever in that country, surpassing Marvel's The Avengers, which is truly an impressive feat. Disney opened the movie nearly a month earlier in Mexico, on October 27, to capitalize on the actual Day of the Dead holiday, which is celebrated and honored in this movie. What will be just as interesting as Coco's success, is the further demise of Justice League at the box office.
We're expecting that, much like Batman v Superman before it, DCEU's Justice League will suffer a massive second weekend drop. Batman v Superman opened with an impressive $166 million back in March of 2016, but it dropped a whopping 69.1% in its second weekend, and with Justice League already underperforming, putting up the worst opening weekend in DCEU history, we're expecting the superhero ensemble to drop roughly 66% this weekend, earning $30.9 million in its second weekend in theaters, with the top 5 rounded out by last weekend's overperforming drama Wonder ($15.6 million), Thor: Ragnarok ($13.4 million) and Daddy's Home 2 ($8.2 million). The top 10 will likely be rounded out by Roman J. Israel, Esq., opening in roughly 1,500 theaters, ($7.6 million), Murder on the Orient Express ($7.1 million), The Star ($4.9 million), A Bad Moms Christmas ($3.8 million) and Lady Bird ($1.6 million). It's certainly possible that The Man Who Invented Christmas could sneak into the top 10 this weekend, but without an estimate of how many theaters it's opening in, it's tough to say, especially in an extended holiday frame like this.
Also opening in limited release tomorrow is Focus Features' Darkest Hour, and on Friday, November 24, Zeitgeist's documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Sony Pictures Classics' Call Me by Your Name, Abramorama's documentary Eric Clapton: A Live in 12 Bars and Cohen Media Group's La Belle Noiseuse. Looking ahead to next weekend, there are no movies opening in wide release, although several potential awards season candidates will arrive in limited release. Among these limited release titles are Parade Deck Films' Another WolfCop, Epic Pictures' Badsville, Well Go USA's Brotherhood of Blades 2, Hannover House's Daisy Winters, A24 Films' The Disaster Artist, Cinedigm Entertainment's Gangster Land, Zorya Films' Inoperable, the independent Kepler's Dream, Fox Searchlight's The Shape of Water, Vertical Entertainment's Slumber, Well Go USA's The Swindlers, IFC's Tribes of Palos Verdes and Amazon Studios' Wonder Wheel. Take a look at the top 10 projections for the weekend of November 22, and check back on Sunday for the top 10 estimates, courtesy of Box Office Mojo.