Thanksgiving Box Office Showdown: ‘Songbirds & Snakes’ and ‘Wish’ Compete for Top Spot

As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, the movie industry is witnessing a remarkable resurgence, especially in the context of post-pandemic recovery. The period stretching from Wednesday to Sunday is expected to generate an impressive total gross of around $190 million across all movies. This figure represents a significant increase from the previous years, notably outperforming the 5-day totals of both 2022, which saw $134 million, and 2021, with $142 million. These numbers indicate a robust return of audiences to theaters, showcasing a revival of the traditional holiday movie-going experience. However, it’s crucial to note that these figures are still shy of the record-breaking Thanksgiving of 2018, which amassed $315.6 million, spearheaded by the release of “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

The Race for the Top Spot: ‘Songbirds & Snakes’ vs. ‘Wish’

At the forefront of this year’s Thanksgiving box office is an unexpected yet thrilling race for the top spot between Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” and Disney’s “Wish.” “Songbirds & Snakes,” despite a relatively subdued opening weekend with $44.6 million, is now neck and neck with “Wish” for the number one position. The latest projections place “Songbirds & Snakes” at an estimated $41.8 million over the five-day period, slightly edging out “Wish,” which is expected to garner about $40.5 million. This close competition underscores the enduring popularity of the Hunger Games franchise, particularly during the festive period, and highlights the power of word-of-mouth, especially among its key demographic – women under 25. The film’s performance is a testament to its ability to sustain interest and draw audiences even after the initial weekend rush.

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“Wish,” on the other hand, has been performing solidly, earning an A- CinemaScore, indicative of its strong appeal, especially among family audiences and children. Interestingly, the film seems to have resonated more with male viewers, a somewhat surprising trend for a Disney princess movie. This pattern of reception demonstrates the broadening appeal of animated features, which traditionally have been more popular with female audiences. “Wish” continues Disney’s legacy of delivering high-quality, family-friendly entertainment that transcends age and gender boundaries.

The Surprising Performance of ‘Napoleon’

In addition to the head-to-head competition at the top, “Apple’s Sony-distributed “Napoleon” is making a significant impact. The film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix, has been outperforming its initial projections with a forecasted 5-day total of $29 million to $33 million, potentially reaching up to $36 million. This performance is particularly noteworthy as it surpasses Ridley Scott’s previous Thanksgiving releases and demonstrates the film’s appeal on a global scale. The success of “Napoleon” is a clear indicator of the audience’s appetite for epic, big-budget films, especially those that combine historical drama with star power.


Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Trolls Band Together’

Another notable contender contributing to the holiday box office is Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls Band Together.” The film is performing remarkably well, tracking 30% ahead of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” at the same point in its release cycle. This trend highlights the continuing popularity of family-friendly animated movies, which consistently draw significant numbers of moviegoers during holiday periods. The “Trolls” franchise, in particular, has established a strong foothold in the animated film market, appealing to both children and adults with its vibrant visuals, catchy music, and heartwarming stories.

TriStar/Spyglass Media’s ‘Thanksgiving’ and Amazon MGM’s ‘Saltburn’

Rounding out the top contenders are TriStar/Spyglass Media’s horror movie “Thanksgiving” and Amazon MGM’s “Saltburn,” directed by Emerald Fennell. “Thanksgiving” has been making a steady contribution to the box office, demonstrating the consistent appeal of the horror genre, even during festive periods. “Saltburn,” on the other hand, marks a significant expansion for the thriller noir, moving from select locations to over 1,500 theaters. This expansion reflects the growing interest in Fennell’s work, following her Oscar-winning directorial debut “Promising Young Woman.” The film’s performance in its expanded release is particularly impressive, comparing favorably with similar titles and attracting a diverse audience.

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Concluding Thoughts on the Thanksgiving Box Office

This year’s Thanksgiving box office landscape is shaping up to be a showcase of diversity in film genres and audience tastes. From franchise films and animated features to epic dramas and horror flicks, the array of movies on offer caters to a wide range of preferences. The strong performances of these films are indicative of a healthy and recovering movie industry, with audiences returning to theaters in significant numbers to enjoy the communal experience of cinema. As the holiday progresses, the box office is expected to see typical fluctuations, with a decrease on Thanksgiving Day and a spike on Black Friday.

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A long time Potterhead and gamer, I keep up to date with everything in the Wizarding World from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts to Hogwarts Legacy.

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