“Encanto” is expected to top the box office and generate $40 million over the five-day period, a more muted launch for a Disney holiday offering than previous Thanksgiving debuts from the Mouse House, such as “Frozen II” in 2019 ($123.7 million), “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in 2018 ($84.6 million), and “Coco” in 2017 ($71 million). But those movies bowed in pre-pandemic times, so if “Encanto” can deliver on those estimates it will rank as a relative victory at a moment when ticket sales are depressed industry-wide.
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The Disney flick will have some competition at the multiplexes. In addition to MGM’s “House of Gucci,” a meme-able crime drama that stars Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Jared Leto, Sony is launching a new entry in its horror movie franchise with “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.” The “Resident Evil” follow-up scored $935,000 in previews.
With “Encanto” ensconced in first place, the big battle will be for runner-up position. “House of Gucci” should pull in $17 million to $20 million between Wednesday and Sunday, while “Welcome to Raccoon City” is looking at a debut of around $15 million to $17 million. If “House of Gucci” hits that mark, it will be quite a success story given the recent struggles of dramas like “King Richard” and “Spencer” at the box office. It will also confirm Lady Gaga’s status as a bankable movie star coming so soon after “A Star is Born.” That kind of cross-over appeal is rare — other pop icons such as Justin Timberlake and Madonna have never been able to pull it off.
Featuring original music from “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Encanto” follows a family living hidden in a magical town in the mountains of Colombia. There, every child except one — Mirabel (voiced by “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Stephanie Beatriz) — has been blessed with a unique gift. However, Mirabel soon becomes their last, best hope when the she discovers that the supernatural powers surrounding the city of Encanto are in danger of collapsing. Critics have embraced the film, handing it a glowing 94% Rotten Tomatoes score.
“House of Gucci” has received mostly positive reviews (Variety loved it!) and Oscar buzz for Lady Gaga, but there have been dissenters who gripe it is over-stuffed, such as the New York Times’ A.O. Scott who called it a “heaping platter of prosciutto.” That wasn’t meant as a compliment, with all due respect to the delicious ham.
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