Thanksgiving box office underwhelming for Hollywood insiders

Low ticket sales could be based on tightening consumer budgets and less marketing from actors due to the Hollywood strikes.
Posted at 8:04 PM, Nov 28, 2023

With Disney's animated fairy tale "Wish," the historical drama "Napoleon" and a dystopian prequel to the Hunger Games franchise, cinemas across the country had a movie for every member of the family this past holiday weekend.

But despite the diverse lineup of new releases, the Thanksgiving box office was a bit underwhelming for Hollywood insiders. 

"We're definitely getting there in terms of overall box office demand, but not quite at the levels that I think some of the industry watchers had hoped for," said Geetha Ranganathan, senior media analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Analysts from Bloomberg Intelligence report that this year's box office is tracking under $9 billion — around 22% more than last year, but still 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

A lot of that has to do with tightening consumer budgets, less marketing from actors because of the Hollywood strikes and waning demand for franchises.

"It's not so much the franchises, it's really been original content. Whether it was 'Barbie' or whether it was 'Oppenheimer,' we saw some movies that we never thought would kind of perform as well as they did. And on the flip side, movies that are surefire hits like from the Disney studio — those didn't do quite as well," Ranganathan said. 

Debuting at $44 and $46 million dollars respectively, the Hunger Games' "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" and Marvel's "The Marvels," which released earlier in November, mark the lowest debuts of any franchise movie over the past 15 years.

"They're all for the theatrical experience, as long as there is something there to really look forward to and can get them excited," she said. 

This December, audiences will once again have a diverse lineup to look forward to: the superhero franchise film "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," "Wonka," which is a prequel of "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," "Migration," an animated movie for the kids and the biographical sports drama "The Iron Claw."

There's something for everyone, but we won't know yet if it'll get everyone to the theaters.

Why aren't there as many Thanksgiving movies as Christmas movies?
AMC theater

Why aren't there as many Thanksgiving movies as Christmas movies?

Yuletide films have made more than $3.5 billion at the box office, while Thanksgiving movies made a fraction of that at $450 million.