Box office preview: Beyonce headlines a normally slow post-Thanksgiving weekend thanks to ‘Renaissance’

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Hopefully, everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend, but now we head into December with what has regularly been a down weekend by comparison. Read on for Gold Derby’s box office preview.

In this case, December kicks off with “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” the latest concert doc released by AMC after the enormous success of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which has surpassed $175 million domestically. Beyoncé Knowles is an equally popular entertainer and pop icon, whose “Renaissance Tour” ended up bringing in $580 million over 56 shows – yeah, I did the math and that means she made $10 million per night?! Beyoncé’s fans have heard murmurings about this movie for some time, but now they’ll have a chance to see it with a release into thousands of theaters, including large format premium screens like IMAX.

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Beyoncé might not have quite the social media presence and rapport as the one between Swift with her fans, which certainly helped “The Eras Tour” become the global blockbuster it was, but it’s also having a more traditional release with previews on Thursday night that will be combined into a full Friday release.

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As noted above, the weekend after Thanksgiving tends to be notoriously bad, although there isn’t much direct competition for Beyoncé until later in the month with “American Fiction” and “The Color Purple.” Unfortunately, the movie is also opening in only 2,539 theaters vs. the 3,800+ for Swift’s movie, so “Renaissance” may only make $22 to 28 million its opening weekend, though it should be able to bring in business over the rest of the month for $60 to 70 million before Christmas Day.

Legendary Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo returns with “Silent Night,” the year’s second holiday genre film following Eli Roth‘s recent horror hit “Thanksgiving.” This one stars Joel Kinnaman (“Suicide Squad”) as a grieving father, whose family was killed by a ruthless gang and who takes his revenge on Christmas Eve. While the weekend after Thanksgiving might normally be a dead zone, this follows one year after David Harbour‘s similarly titled genre film, “Violent Night,” opened with $13.5 million going on to gross $50 million over the holidays, offering something different from the norm.

That was released by Universal, rather than Lionsgate, and also had a better title and premise – a violent Santa rather than just a vengeful father – but the trailers and commercials have been pretty solid, as have reviews, and there has to be some excitement among older males for Woo’s return. Then again, Kinnaman hasn’t exactly proven as a box office draw, even after playing “Robocop” in an attempted reboot a few years back. Even so, there seems to be little reason why this can’t bring in $10 million, although some might look at how poorly the Finnish revenge thriller “SISU” did earlier this year and wonder if this would do much better.

Another legendary Asian genre icon returns to theaters, as Toho releases “Godzilla Minus One,” a prequel to the original 1964 monster classic. It has been receiving rave reviews so far from those who have been able to see it, and it’s having special sneak previews on Wednesday, which probably will be compiled into its weekend. This is actually opening in 2,539 theaters, very close to “Silent Night,” which should give it a good chance of making a play for the top 10 with between $7 and 10 million, thanks to Godzilla’s growing popularity due to the Legendary Pictures movies, as well as the current Apple TV+ series “Monarch.”

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Angel Studios returns with the sci-fi thriller “The Shift,” written and directed by Brock Heasley, about a man (Kristoffer Polaha) who has to escape from an alternate reality ruled by Neal McDonough‘s “The Benefactor.” Angel Studios’ last release was the doc “After Death,” which opened with $5 million in 2,645 theaters last month, although this one seems like a bit of a departure, and it’s not clear whether it can appeal to faith-based audiences in the same way as some of Angel Studios’ other releases. This probably will open closer to $3 or 4 million.

From Bollywood comes the Telugu-language film “Animal,” opening in 850 theaters on Friday, a rare R-rated action film from India, involving the odd relationship between a father and his son, but it’s also a movie that’s getting quite a big push in India with no less than “RRR” director SS Rajamouli being involved with helping to launch the movie overseas. Much like faith-based films, it’s hard to gauge the interest and demand in this country, although apparently, tickets have been selling well, so this is likely to break into the bottom part of the top 10 with other new movies in the $3 to 5 million range.

A24 plans to expand Nicolas Cage‘s “Dream Scenario” nationwide into roughly 1,500 theaters, though it might not get into the top 10 with roughly $2 million, give or take. Limited releases include Blue Fox Entertainment’s “Teddy’s Christmas” featuring the voice of Zachary Levi, NEON’s “Eileen” starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, and Sean Price Williams‘ indie “The Sweet East” from Utopia.

Sure, there’s a ton coming out this weekend, but only Beyoncé might have any sort of significant impact against all the stronger returning movies already in theaters with “The Hunger Games,” “Napoleon” and “Trolls Band Together” filling out the Top 5.

Check back on Sunday to see how all of these movies end up doing.

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