Guess what, folks. There is not a single new wide release hitting theaters this week. That’s because historically, the weekend after Thanksgiving is one of the worst frames of the year. Is it a bad weekend because studios don’t release anything here? Or do studios avoid the weekend because no one goes to the theater?
It turns out it’s primarily driven by the studios. All the studios want is for their December releases to stick around long enough to make it to the holiday weekend. The period from Christmas Eve through New Years behaves like a long, nine-day weekend.
The end-of-year competition is intense. This year, there will be no fewer than ten new wide releases opening between December 10th and the end of the year. Plus, there will be a handful of high-profile specialty releases and a few films expanding wide from earlier limit runs. In other words, it’s about to get very crowded at the box office.
With so many films on the horizon, an early December release may have difficulty sticking around against the onslaught of new titles. A film that debuts at #1 during the first week of December could find itself outside the top 10 by the time Christmas rolls around. For that reason, wide releases are crammed into the two-week period before the holiday.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be things to look for this weekend. In particular, we are curious to see how HOUSE OF GUCCI holds. Is there good word-of-mouth? Will it play well in week two?
To help answer that question, here are some comps. Below is a chart with all the 2014-2019 films that opened wide on Thanksgiving weekend. The graph shows the percentage drop in week two.
Given the absence of new competition, it’s not illogical to think that films would hold well after Thanksgiving. As it turns out, that’s not the case. As you can see above, the week two drops are in line with other weekends of the year.
It is interesting to note that it’s the films that didn’t draw a big audience on Thanksgiving weekend that held best the following week. QUEEN & SLIM, ALLIED, and HORRIBLE BOSSS 2 didn’t pull in huge numbers when they debuted, but they had reasonably strong holds in week 2.
Where will GUCCI fall relative to these historical? We’ll have to wait and see, but it is interesting to note that after debuting as the #3 film last weekend, GUCCI was the highest-grossing film at the box office on Tuesday.