Rian Johnson's masterful whodunnit Knives Out is already tracking to surpass its early box office estimates. Starring a variety of incredibly famous faces, Johnson's latest is a murder mystery in the style of an Agatha Christie novel centered on a wealthy crime novelist named Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Following his 85th birthday celebration with his family, Harlan is found dead. It's then up to famed detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to crack the case and figure out what exactly is going on within the eccentric Thrombey family.
The film has been almost universally praised by critics and audiences alike for its thrilling narrative and impressive all-star cast. Many viewers have also lauded how the film's story feels like an ode to murder mysteries from the past, and it's clear that Johnson reveled in these stories while crafting this love letter to the genre. It's been a fun addition in theaters to help shake up the box office as well. Following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, Knives Out quickly began to pick up an unbelievable amount of traction due to its consistently positive reviews. It was originally projected to gross between $22 and $25 million over the Thanksgiving break period, but now it appears it will be taking in a far greater haul during its long opening weekend.
According to Variety, Knives Out "is paying off nicely with estimates of nearly $40 million for the five-day holiday." The film officially hit theaters on Wednesday and took in, "$8.5 million at 3,391 North American theaters." Along with Knives Out, Frozen 2 has also been shaking up the box office following an incredibly quiet fall season for releases. The animated sequel is also skyrocketing past the initial box office forecasts, taking in "as much as $155 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday in North America." This will make Frozen 2 the "eighth-largest domestic release of 2019 behind Joker," showing that the box office will surely be ending on a positive note as the end of the year approaches.
The success of Knives Out is proof that audiences crave original storytelling and are longing to see more of it. Not only that, but it's bringing a much-needed jolt of energy back into movie theaters, something that's been fairly absent for the most part since summer. The line-up of fall releases has seen more misses than hits. But, it appears that the holiday releases will be the ones to pull the box office out of its rut.
Hopefully, the monumental success of Johnson's whodunnit will lead to a sequel, or even a franchise, filled with mysterious adventures centered on Craig's Benoit Blanc. Although that's yet to be confirmed and a long way off, Johnson has expressed interest in the idea. Revisiting these murder mysteries every few years, similar to how Agatha Christie did with detective Hercule Poirot, could be a fantastic way to keep audiences invested in a new and different franchise at the movies. Knives Out is a fantastic film that truly livened up the theater-going experience with its intriguing original narrative. And, considering the positive box office numbers, being able to revisit Johnson's universe with Blanc could certainly be more likely.
- Knives Out (2019) release date: Nov 27, 2019