The well-reviewed film grossed a disappointing $800,000 in Tuesday previews, which likely means that initial estimates that “Strange World” would pull in between $30 million to $40 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday may prove to be overly optimistic.
That all comes with important caveats. Animated fare doesn’t usually do explosive business in previews, with families usually seeking out earlier showings. That said, “Strange World’s” Tuesday preview number is less than the $1.5 million that Disney’s “Encanto” generated in previews last Thanksgiving. That film went on to make $40.3 million over the extended holiday frame. “Strange World” will play in 4,174 locations across the U.S. and Canada.
The soft initial numbers are bad news for “Strange World,” which carries a steep $180 million price tag. They also continue the theatrical challenges of animated fare in a post-COVID landscape. Animated features like “Lightyear” and “Encanto” have struggled to match the pre-pandemic grosses of other Disney and Pixar films. Only “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which was produced by Illumination and Universal and grossed $937.8 million globally, has managed to buck the trend and reach blockbuster status.
“Strange World’s” top competition over the holiday should come from another Disney release, the Marvel adventure, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which is expected to top box office charts with more than $40 million over the holiday period. There’s also Sony’s “Devotion,” an aerial war drama, and Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” which will expand to 600 theaters after debuting in a handful of screens two weeks ago. “Devotion” made $615,000 in Tuesday previews and should earn $7 million to $8 million over the five-day frame.
In milestone news, “Wakanda Forever” crossed the $300 million, earning $9.5 million on Tuesday. The superhero sequel’s domestic gross stands at $303.7 million.