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Netflix scores a box office win with Glass Onion theatrical release

It certainly is a strange world when the big winner of the Thanksgiving weekend box office might be ... Netflix?

For the first time, the streamer debuted a film in all three of the major U.S. theater chains over the holiday weekend, and it was a resounding success. Glass Onion, the sequel to Knives Out, played in about 600 U.S. theaters beginning Nov. 23 in what Netflix dubbed a "sneak preview event."

But despite its release being limited, Glass Onion grossed $13.3 million domestically over five days and is projected to make $15 million by Tuesday, Deadline reports. Netflix hasn't confirmed these numbers, but it would be the biggest theatrical opening for one of the streamer's movies.

It also isn't that far below the $18.6 million five-day gross of Disney's Strange World, even though that was a wide release playing in thousands of theaters. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was number one at the box office with $64 million over five days, but it's possible Glass Onion could have come close to topping it had the film played on more screens. Knives Out grossed over $300 million worldwide. 

Glass Onion's success came during an otherwise disappointing Thanksgiving weekend at the movies. Not only did Disney's Strange World bomb, but only $95 million was grossed over the three-day weekend across all movies, per IndieWire —  down from $181 million over Thanksgiving 2019. Adult-oriented movies like The Fabelmans and Devotion also disappointed

After years of Netflix clashing with theater chains, the box office success of Glass Onion could lead to more streaming films debuting at your local multiplex. Still, in a sign Netflix continues to prioritize streaming debuts, the company didn't commit to a traditional, wide theatrical release for Glass Onion — likely losing out on millions of dollars in additional ticket sales, experts said. Instead, the film will leave theaters after a week before hitting streaming on Dec. 23.