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Spielberg’s ‘The Fabelmans’ Adds a So-So $3.1 Million in Wider Release

Mature films continue to trudge along in theaters as horror romance ”Bones and All“ also gets released

Independent and specialty films are continuing to trudge along at the box office this Thanksgiving weekend, as Universal expanded Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” nationwide to 638 theaters and made a so-so $3.1 million over five days with a per theater average of $4,858.

With the Toronto Film Festival Audience Award, strong critical and audience acclaim and the name of one of the most famous filmmakers of all time on the marquee, Universal’s “The Fabelmans” is trying to leg out throughout the holiday season as an alternative to big-name blockbusters like Disney’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

But since theaters reopened, there is a growing question of whether demand for such alternatives in theaters is even there. As we noted on WrapPRO with the box office failure of “She Said,” the only indie/specialty films that have gained traction at the box office this year have been genre films that offer a different brand of spectacle than their tentpole counterparts such as A24’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once” or, more recently, Searchlight’s “The Menu,” which has grossed $18.7 million over two weekends in wide release.

By contrast, Oscar contenders that tackle serious real-life topics like Searchlight’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Focus Features’ “Tár” and United Artists’ “Till” are failing to even reach $10 million in domestic grosses, and it remains unclear if “The Fabelmans” can buck that trend and have the sustained audience turnout that prestige films prior to the pandemic used to score. Universal has not announced whether it will expand the film’s screen count, though it may do so closer to Christmas.

This weekend, MGM earned just with $3.6 million for “Bones and All,” a horror romance from Luca Guadagnino starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell about a pair of cannibals who fall in love and struggle with their deadly need to eat human flesh to stay alive. “Bones and All” did barely better than “The Fablemans” despite a larger screen count of 2,727 theaters.

“Bones and All” earned a B on CinemaScore and an audience score of 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. With its grisly subject matter and the aforementioned struggle that mature films are facing, the film is likely to tail off quickly in early December.

In limited release, Neon opened the documentary “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” at three theaters in New York, grossing $42,532 for an average of $14,177. Directed by Laura Poitras and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the documentary follows the career of art photographer Nan Goldin as well as her activism to expose the Sackler family’s complicity in the opioid overdose crisis, leading protests to demand that major art museums like the Met and the Louvre to return the millions donated by the billionaire family.

Among holdovers, Fathom Events’ limited engagement screening of the Christianity origin story “The Chosen” added $2.1 million over five days. Screening the first two episodes of the third season of Angel Studios’ Christian streaming series, Fathom Events is set to break its distributor record set a year ago by the show’s holiday special “Christmas With The Chosen” as the limited engagement has reached $13 million in total grosses.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” added $457,000 in its sixth weekend to bring its total to $7.8 million, while “Tár” has inched past $5 million in total grosses with $124,000 added this weekend.