Too bad Netflix doesn’t embrace the theatrical window instead of merely tolerating it. The streamer’s first major box office release, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the expensive sequel to Lionsgate’s 2018 original Knives Out, reportedly generated upwards of $15 million across less than 700 screens over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend through Nov. 27.
Had the film, again starring Daniel Craig in the lead role of master detective Benoit Blanc, opened across 4,000 screens, it could have possibly won the weekend outright. But opening the movie at all exclusively in theaters was a major concession for Netflix and its co-CEO/chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who reiterated the service’s priority to its SVOD subscribers on the company’s Oct. 18 fiscal call.
“We’re in the business of entertaining our members with Netflix movies on Netflix. So that’s where we focus all of our energy and most of our spends,” Sarandos said at the time.
Netflix, which reportedly paid Knives Out director Rian Johnson $460 million for the sequel and third film’s release rights, bows Glass Onion on the platform Dec. 23.
As expected, Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Panther sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, topped the weekend box office for the third time with an estimated $64 million in ticket sales. The follow-up to the 2018 original starring the late Chadwick Boseman has now topped $600 million in global ticket sales through three weekends.
Separately, Disney Animation’s Strange World debuted with an underwhelming $18.6 million in North American ticket sales, and $27.8 million globally. The tally is below Disney’s estimates of around $30 million, which when paired with low critical praise suggests a short theatrical run. That’s likely not a major concern for Disney, which is riding high with Black Panther 2 and the highly anticipated Avatar sequel release next month, Avatar: The Way of Water, on Dec. 16.