Dark Secrets Unveiled: Disney’s ‘Wish’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’—A Suspenseful Thanksgiving Film Saga!

Explore Disney’s “Wish” and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” in the Thanksgiving film lineup, promising cinematic magic.

Official poster of Wish
‘WISH’ is tracking to have the highest grossing opening weekend for an original animated movie since ‘COCO’, in 2017.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Disney is set to continue its annual tradition of releasing an animated movie, and this year’s highly anticipated offering is “Wish.” Positioned as a musical origin story for the Wishing Star that has been an iconic element in numerous Disney narratives, “Wish” is expected to dominate the box office over the bustling holiday weekend.

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This Thanksgiving won’t be entirely monopolized by Disney, unlike the previous year, which saw two Disney releases, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Strange World,” topping the box office. Movie enthusiasts can look forward to a diverse lineup, including the debut of Ridley Scott’s historical epic, “Napoleon,” alongside familiar titles like “The Hunger Games” prequel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” and “Trolls Band Together.” Additionally, a selection of independent films such as Emerald Fennell’s sultry thriller “Saltburn” and Alexander Payne’s uplifting drama “The Holdovers” is set to expand nationwide.

“Wish,” featuring original music and the voices of Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine, is scheduled to premiere on Wednesday. Projections estimate a weekend earning of $35 million, with an expected total of $45 million to $50 million in its initial five days of release. Co-written and co-directed by the acclaimed “Frozen” team of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, “Wish” unfolds the story of a young girl named Asha, who embarks on a quest to save the fantastical Kingdom of Rosas from impending darkness.

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Although “Wish” carries the Disney Thanksgiving legacy forward, its anticipated box office performance might not match the impressive starts of Disney’s past Thanksgiving releases. Blockbusters like 2019’s “Frozen II” ($123.7 million), 2018’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” ($84.6 million), and 2017’s “Coco” ($71 million) enjoyed more substantial openings. However, recent Disney Thanksgiving offerings haven’t quite reached the pre-pandemic standards. The lukewarm reception of “Strange World” in 2022, with $18 million over five days, signaled a departure from the studio’s usual success. Additionally, 2021’s “Encanto,” which opened to $40.3 million in its first five days, gained viral popularity on TikTok only after its Disney+ release.

“Wish” is poised to reverse the fortunes of some underperforming Disney 2023 tentpoles, including “The Marvels,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “The Haunted Mansion” remake, “The Little Mermaid,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Despite its $200 million budget, Disney hopes “Wish” will resonate globally, aiming for a $25 million international box office start.

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Rivaling “Wish” is “Trolls 3,” which appeals to a similar demographic and debuted last weekend in second place with $30 million domestically. Despite this competition, “Wish” is expected to dominate, provided that songs like “Knowing What I Know Now” and “This Wish” become cultural phenomena akin to past Disney hits like “Let It Go” or “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”

In parallel, Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon,” a historical epic starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, enters the fray with a $200 million budget. This film is Apple’s second major theatrical release after Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” While “Napoleon” targets a debut of $16 million over the weekend and $22 million from Wednesday to Sunday, it faces the challenge of living up to Apple’s unique metrics of success, which prioritize generating buzz for its streaming service over traditional box office profits.

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Reviews for “Napoleon” have been mixed, with Variety describing it as an “undeniably impressive technical achievement” but noting that the film’s ambitions may exceed audience demand. The film’s skip of the film festival circuit, its shorter runtime compared to “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and Apple’s unconventional success metrics all contribute to the complexity of evaluating “Napoleon’s” commercial potential.

As the Thanksgiving cinematic feast unfolds, moviegoers can anticipate an array of choices, from Disney’s enchanting “Wish” to Ridley Scott’s grand historical spectacle, “Napoleon.” While the box office battle ensues, the real measure of success for these films may extend beyond conventional metrics to include the lasting impact on the ever-evolving landscape of the entertainment industry.

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