‘Knives Out’ sequel hits theaters as Thanksgiving box office forecasts wane

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Yahoo Finance entertainment reporter Allie Canal discusses the latest movie releases, concerns about the Thanksgiving box office results ahead of the holiday season, and early predictions for the return of James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water in its opening weekend.
video transcript
- Thanksgiving weekend is usually a big money-maker for cinemas, but what can we expect when only a few big titles are available? Alexandra Canal from Yahoo Finance is here with the outlook so far. So Ali, how's it going?
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ALEXANDRA CANAL: Hello, Rochelle. You're right. You know, the content isn't really there like it's been in years past, but we've released some new titles this weekend that might surprise at the box office. As we take a look at theatrical exclusives this weekend, we've got plenty of Disney with the animated feature Strange World. We should also see continued success from Wakanda Forever, but probably one of the most anticipated is the Knives Out sequel.
Now this film will only be available in select markets for a week before moving to Netflix at the end of December, but I spoke to Sean Robbins. He's the lead analyst at Boxoffice Pro, and he told me that the success here could really become a game-changer in the relationship between streaming platforms and exhibitors, as this is probably the most talked about, the hottest streaming title in cinemas exclusively open. And it's that vote of confidence when it comes to the cinematic experience, when it comes to the ability of the box office to really make a profit from these kinds of films.
We received news earlier this week that Amazon is reportedly investing $1 billion to produce 12 to 15 films a year exclusively for theaters, and that report sent the shares of cinema chains like AMC and Cinemark higher. So I think there's a lot more to come as we think about this relationship. We've come a long way since 2020 and 2021, but of course Netflix has largely resisted. So, we'll see if Glass Onion can change this type of strategy.
Overall, the Thanksgiving box office is expected to top 100 million over the three-day weekend and over 140 million over the five days. As you can see, that's about where it was in 2021, but we're still well below where we were in 2019, as we took in 181 million in three days and a whopping 262 million in five days. And a lot of that has to do with the types of movies that come out. Hopefully we will see stabilization from 2023 onwards.
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- Yes, Ali, I haven't even seen the first "Knives Out". I have some catching up to do this weekend.
ALEXANDRA CANAL: You do. Good.
- I've heard great reviews. As you said, historically this weekend kicked off a busy Christmas movie season. Wasn't like that in the last few years. But what does it look like? How does the pipeline look until the end of the year?
ALEXANDRA CANAL: The absolute biggest movie coming up at the end of the year is the sequel, Avatar 2. This is a film that James Cameron has been talking about for years. The original Avatar aired in 2009, so people have been waiting for it for a long time. And the movie got the green light this week to air in China, and that was a big deal for Hollywood too, a big deal for this movie. This country is notorious for turning down films, and if we look at this original "Avatar's" ticket sales in 2009, it grossed a total of $2.74 billion, including $202 million from mainland China.
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So this is a significant market for this type of film. And overall, "Avatar 2" cost a pretty penny. It's reportedly topped $250 million, so it must be doing well. And in terms of forecasts, we have a long-term forecast of Boxoffice Pro between $135 million and $175 million, so that's the number to watch.
I have high expectations. People love this franchise. It will certainly be a long time coming, but we'll have to wait and see if it can deliver. But considering this is probably going to be the biggest movie at the end of the year, we won't-- there won't really be that much competition. I think all eyes will be on it and it will continue well into the first quarter of 2023 as well.
- Yes, I mean, exactly the kind of film that you actually want to see in theaters once you've seen the first "Avatar", but we're going to see that one too. Thanks for that Ali
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