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Thanksgiving Movies Turkeyed By COVID Surge

Pixar Animation Studios' upcoming feature film "Soul," like many other films of late, will go direct to streaming. That's bad news for theater owners. (©2020 Disney/Pixar)
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When you think back to some of Thanksgiving’s family-friendly blockbusters, the list is easy:

  • Frozen
  • Toy Story 2
  • Moana
  • Coco

Each animated movie grossed more than $200 million in domestic release, while Frozen took in nearly $1.3 billion worldwide. But there’s no need to worry about a release from this year’s holiday entering the box-office record books: The math just doesn’t work.

With COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, more than 700 North American theaters closed over the past weekend. That’s right: Seven. Hundred. And the most recent No. 1 film at the multiplex, Freaky, only grossed a little more than $1 million. Those are the kind of returns typically generated by a box office bomb.

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And the news is getting worse for theater owners.

Most of the studios are taking their big animated films elsewhere. The next Pixar movie, Soul, has abandoned its November theatrical premiere. It now will debut on the Disney Plus streaming site.

If you’re really willing to gamble with your health -- and everyone else's -- there is one new family film hitting theaters this week: A new Croods sequel. But if you want to keep everyone safe, stay at home.

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