The Quorum

Is It Too Soon To Call Thanksgiving Weekend Moickid (or Wickoana)?

To split or not to split? That is the question. When Lionsgate divided MOCKINGJAY, the final chapter in the first HUNGER GAMES trilogy, part two ended up being the series’ lowest-grossing film. Last year, nearly a decade after the release of MOCKINGJAY – PART TWO, director Frances Lawrence said he regretted splitting the movie.

Last year, Paramount sliced MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: DEAD RECKONING into two parts. While MISSION is a well-established franchise, there still has to be some concern after PART 1 became the lowest-grossing film in the series since MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III in 2006.

More recently, Universal found itself in a conundrum after THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER, the first of three planned films in the classic horror franchise, cratered at the box office. The decision to split WICKED was made before the recent MISSION and EXORCIST misfires. Still, the studio is likely sweating the decision. Can WICKED prove be the rare bifurcated success?

After a high-profile launch during the Super Bowl, WICKED – PART ONE, directed by Jon M. Chu and starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande, also debuted on The Quorum. The first part arrives this Thanksgiving, with the follow-up dropping precisely a year later.

This is not the first time the land Oz has been revisited. Just over a decade ago, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL got fair reviews and took in just shy of $500M against a $215M budget. Not bad, but not great either. It ended the year as the 9th highest grossing film of 2013.

Hopes are higher for WICKED. With that in mind, let’s look at the film’s early numbers. The film has been assigned to the “Tentpole” group because it is believed to have a production budget of over $100M. The median opening weekend for the group is $61M (the average is $77M). Can WICKED exceed the group average?

Out of the gate, WICKED is off to a solid start. Awareness for the film sits at 42%, which is just above the group average of 41% at the same distance from release. And interest for WICKED is also in line with the group average.

This alone would suggest that WICKED could open near the group median of $61M. If it does, that would make it the largest Thanksgiving opening in over a decade. As you can see below, over the past ten years MOANA is tops with $57M over the Friday to Sunday period.

That’s not say other films haven’t grossed more than $61M over the past decade. FROZEN II, for example, grossed $86M over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2019, but it was in its second week of release. In fact, the weekend before Thanksgiving is often the more desirable date given that its second frame falls over the long holiday. For whatever reason, Universal likes this date and it seems unlikely to change.

So, can WICKED outperform MOANA and cross $60M? The early tracking suggests it can. But, we also have to factor in the competition. Earlier this month Disney announced that MOANA 2 would also open on Thanksgiving weekend. That’s two very big movies opening on the same date. Is it too early to coin the term MOICKED? This could be one of the big showdowns of 2024. We’re getting the popcorn ready.

EDITORS NOTE: Props to Ayesha Houstonite for an even better option: Wickoana

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