There’s major drama happening at the pre-Thanksgiving box office.
As expected, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stayed atop the chart in its second weekend with a relatively sturdy $67.3 million for a 10-day domestic total of $288 million. The Marvel Studios and Disney tentpole had hoped to clear $70 million in its sophomore outing but fell a bit more than expected, or 63 percent. Globally, its gross stands at $546 million.
Still, it isn’t uncommon for a Marvel pic to decline more than 60 percent domestically, although the first Black Panther, which opened to $202 million, declined less than 55 percent in its second weekend. The last two Marvel films, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, however, both posted declines in the 67 percent range, according to Comscore.
Wakanda Forever launched to $181 million in North America over the Nov. 11-13 weekend, a November record. It was also the second-biggest box office debut of 2022 so far, behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187.4 million). The movie is counting on remaining a powerhouse throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.
Searchlight’s new epicurean horror-comedy The Menu came in second, grossing $9 million from 3,211 theaters — the widest release in the history of specialty label Searchlight.
The Menu, starring Ralph Fiennes, Anna Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, served up a strong debut after succeeding in drawing younger adults (specialty dramas depending upon older viewers are struggling badly). Nearly 65 percent of ticket buyers were between ages 18 and 24. The film earned a B CinemaScore.
On Saturday, early weekend estimates showed The Menu being devoured by a special-event screening of faith-based series The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 in a surprise upset, but was able to prevail.
From Fathom Events, The Chosen is still expected to earn $8.2 million from 2,012 theaters, a rousing success for a special-event screening. The Chosen, about the life Jesus, is from Angel Studios, which streams the independent show on such platforms as Prime Video and Peacock, as well as on its special app.
DC superhero Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, placed No. 4 in its fifth weekend with $4.9 million domestically for a North American tally of $157 million and $366.2 million domestically. The movie has come in somewhat behind expectations overall as it winds down its run.
Universal’s romantic-comedy Ticket to Paradise continued to fly high, coming in No. 5 in its fifth weekend with $3.2 million for a domestic total of $61.6 million and $157.1 million worldwide.
Alongside The Menu and The Chosen, the weekend’s other new offering was She Said, which chronicles the work of New York Times investigative reporters Jodi Cantor (Zoe Kazan) and Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) in bringing down Harvey Weinstein helping to fuel the #MeToo movement. (The Universal film is based on the book of the same name authored by the two journalists.)
She Said is the latest adult drama to stall at the box office, opening in sixth place to just $2.3 million from 2,022 theaters. That’s one of the worst starts in recent memory — excluding the pandemic — for a major studio release going out in more than 2,000 locations.
Universal believes it was important to make the film and is hoping that audiences discover She Said throughout the holidays thanks to strong word of mouth. The film has been embraced by critics and earned an A CinemaScore from moviegoers. Nearly half of Friday ticket buyers were 45 and older, including 29 percent over 55.
At the specialty box office, MGM and United Artists’ Bones and All is opening in five theaters as it prepares to expand nationwide over Thanksgiving. The film posted a per-location average of $23,983, in line with expectations.
Nov. 20, 8:10: Updated with revised weekend estimates.