Disney will continue to embrace the theatrical window over the Thanksgiving stretch with the Colombia-set animated musical Encanto. The film directed by Jared Bush, Byron Howard and Charise Castro Smith is looking to hook families with a $35M-$40M five-day domestic start and another $35M+ overseas as it debuts day-and-date in all offshore territories except China, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Vietnam. In the U.S., Encanto showtimes begin at 6 tonight.
While some studios have been concerned about the turnout of families for major movies during the pandemic and have opted for a hybrid launch in homes simultaneously, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife began easing those fears last weekend with a $44M start, a third of that business from families. The Jason Reitman-directed sequel in its second weekend looks to do an estimated $30M-$35M over five days, armed with the power of Imax auditoriums. Afterlife made $4M on Monday and now stands at $48M.
Encanto is the second animated wide release to have an exclusive theatrical window this year, following 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong. Previous feature toons including Universal’s The Boss Baby: Family Business and Paramount+’s PAW Patrol, as well as Warner Bros. live-action mix Tom & Jerry, were day-and-date theatrical/streaming releases in the U.S.
United Artist Releasing hopes to dynamite adults out of their houses with Ridley Scott’s all-star MGM thriller House of Gucci, which is booked at 3,477 domestic theaters, eyeing a mid- to high-teen opening over five days. Previews in the U.S./Canada start tonight at 7PM. The film is currently 65% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but has earned fresh reviews from Associated Press, The Telegraph, The L.A. Times, Time, Variety, Entertainment Weekly and Deadline‘s own Pete Hammond. House of Gucci is opening in 45 overseas markets via Universal and MGM, with the major plays of France starting tomorrow, followed by Mexico and Brazil on Thursday and the UK and Spain on Friday. Expectations are around $10M to start at the international box office.
Sony-Screen Gems has the Constantin reboot of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City which goes back to the roots of the Capcom shooter zombie videogame. The genre movie is booked at 2,800 theaters, with Sony looking toward an $8M-$10M five-day start. Rival studios believe it has a good chance to land in the teens, the Johannes Roberts-directed movie currently 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. Previews for the $25M production start at 3 PM today in 2,320 locations. With the departure of Milla Jovovich as lead zombie shooter Alice, Kaya Scodelario takes up the guns as Claire Redfield.
Encanto arrives fours years after Disney’s previous Thanksgiving 2x Oscar winning animated musical Coco. Encanto is a young-female driven tale about a girl, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) who lives in a huge house with a familia, all of whom have magical talents; except for her. The movie is about how she finds her way to fit in; and it’s further bolstered and accentuated by a soundtrack written by the Emmy, Grammy and Tony winning Lin-Manuel Miranda that will have audiences leaving the theater in song.
Original animation isn’t easy at the box office, hence the lower than usual projections on Encanto, coupled with the whole question about whether families truly show-up during a lingering Covid. Through yesterday, Encanto had $2.5M in U.S. presales behind Wreck-it Ralph‘s $3.5M. That latter movie went on to do $49M over three days during the first weekend of November 2012. Among the top five Thanksgiving original animated openings for Disney at the domestic B.O., of course, all pre-pandemic: Frozen ($93.9M wide opening), Moana ($82M), Coco ($72.9M), Tangled ($68.7M) and The Good Dinosaur ($55.4M).
Encanto is booked at 3,800+ theatres, comprised of 600+ Premium Large Format screens and 1,300 3D locations. Over 300 theaters in key markets will offer the Disney movie in Spanish dubbed and/or subtitled showtimes.
The like-for-like comp for Encanto abroad is Boss Baby 2 which debuted to $23M; that movie ending its overseas run at $70.8M. Encanto, no doubt, will overperform in Latin America, which has theaters open during the pandemic. Coco was one of the top-grossing U.S. movies in Mexico of all-time at $57.9M. Chile was the second-highest grossing territory for Coco at $10M, followed by Argentina ($9.5M), Brazil ($9.4M), Venezuela ($9M) and Colombia ($6.8M). It’s also important to note that overseas, there’s no holiday to speak of unlike the U.S.
There is no China release date yet for Encanto, and that would be a great get given how Coco overindexed in that market with a $200M gross; Chinese audiences loved the family aspects of that film. However, 20% of the theaters are closed in China due to a Covid uptick, which impacts 23% of a pic’s gross.
Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam are playing catch-up with their film bookings as those territories reopen cinemas after being temporarily shuttered.
The concern in the upcoming weeks is whether there’s lockdown throughout Europe. Austria recently went into full lockdown for three weeks, with restrictions in Scandinavia, though it hasn’t impacted cinemas yet. Germany has canceled Christmas markets and sporting events. Disney is looking for a pop from France where animated films fare well, as well as Japan and Russia. Asia is now open outside of China’s limited cinema closures.
Encanto is dubbed theatrically in 41 languages, including the first time the studio has dubbed in Georgian. In regards to the Latina American version, it was dubbed with 100% Colombian actors in Colombia. While Beatriz did not recur her role in that cut, the original cast members from the film came in to dub their roles in authentic Colombian Spanish: Angie Cepeda – (Julieta, who also dubbed herself in Italian), María Cecilia Botero (Abuela Alma), Mauro Castillo (Félix), Carolina Gaitán (Pepa), Olga Lucía Vives (Mirabel) and Maluma (Mariano). The Colombian Spanish version of Encanto is also being distributed in Spain.