Box Office Results: Catching Fire and Frozen Set New Thanksgiving Records

The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

The extended Thanksgiving weekend saw a veritable banquet at the box office, but most of that was due to two movies that exceeded the previous holiday box office records, leaving everything else with little but scraps.

After setting a November opening record last week, the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate), starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson et al, took a 53% plunge in its second weekend and ended up with an estimated $74.5 million over the three-day weekend and $110.1 million including Wednesday and Thursday. Those amounts put it ahead of previous Thanksgiving weekend record holder Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which grossed $82.4 million over the five-day holiday back in 2001. The movie also set a new IMAX box office record for Thanksgiving with $8.6 million coming from 346 screens. That huge Thanksgiving take pushed “Catching Fire” closer to the $300 million mark after just ten days as its domestic total gross is currently at $296.5 million, $23 million of that coming from IMAX screenings.

Globally, “Catching Fire” crossed the $500 million mark with another $92.5 million added overseas to bring its global total to $573 million, $276.5 million of that coming from international markets. That’s just $7 million less than the original movie made in its entire international theatrical run. 250 international IMAX screens brought in $3.2 million during that same five-day period, bringing the international total to $9 million and global IMAX take to $32 million.

The big new release of the weekend was Disney’s animated musical adventure Frozen, which opened for an exclusive run at Los Angeles’ El Capitan theater last weekend and expanded nationwide into 3,742 theaters. With a lot of buzz going into the weekend and mostly favorable reviews, the animated film featuring the voices of Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff amassed an estimated $93 million over the five-day weekend with $66.7 million of that over the three-day weekend. It was the #1 choice for families this Thanksgiving with 81% of the audience being families, 57% of the audience being female and about the same amount under 25, according to Disney. 38% of the audience was younger than 11 years old.

Although “Catching Fire” holds the Thanksgiving record for all movies, Frozen gracefully took the record for biggest opening over Thanksgiving, in this case surpassing Disney?Pixar’s animated classic Toy Story 2. Incidentally, Walt Disney Pictures now holds nine of the top 10 movies to open domestically over Thanksgiving, so clearly they’ve figured out a formula that works.

Internationally, Frozen brought in $16.7 million in 16 territories, 19% of the potential markets, to bring its global box office to $110.1 million.

For those keeping track, that’s nearly $200 million made by just two movies in five days, not leaving much room for anything else.

With that in mind, Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World dropped to third place with $15.5 million over the five-day weekend and $11.1 million over the three days. Meanwhile, the Marvel sequel has grossed $404 million overseas, with another $12.2 million added this weekend, to bring its global total to $591.1 million.

Malcolm D. Lee’s comedy sequel The Best Man Holiday (Universal) wasn’t able to take full advantage of audiences flocking to holiday-themed movies, bringing in just $11.1 million over the five days and $8.5 million over the three-day weekend, down 32% from last week. Even so, it’s definitely considered a hit for Universal, having grossed $63.4 million to date based on a production budget of $17 million.

The Jason Statham action-thriller Homefront (Open Road), written by Sylvester Stallone and co-starring James Franco, Kate Bosworth and Winona Ryder, opened in fifth place with $9.8 million in its first five days in 2,572 theaters. With less than $7 million on the weekend, that’s basically on par with some of Statham’s previous releases with an average of $3,808 per theater over the five days.

It squeaked out a minor victory with a very small margin over Vince Vaughn’s latest vehicle Delivery Man (DreamWorks), which had a minimal 13% drop from its opening weekend to add another $9.7 million in sixth place. That nearly doubles its gross to $19.4 million.

A big surprise of the weekend was the success of the movie adaptation of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (20th Century Fox), starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse. It opened November 8 with a fairly low-key limited release, but expanded nationwide into 1,234 theaters Wednesday and was able to take seventh place with $6.4 million in its first five days of wide release. When you add in previous box office, that brings its total to $7.9 million.

While normally holiday movies will do well over the holiday weekend, Kasi Lemmons’ adaptation of the holiday musical Black Nativity (Fox Searchlight), starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson, failed to find much of an audience with just $5 million in its first five days and $3.9 million of that over the three-day weekend. Considering that it opened in more theaters than The Book Thief, it was surprising this was bested by the drama from Big Fox.

Stephen Frears’ festival fave Philomena (The Weinstein Company), starring Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, expanded nationwide into 835 theaters where it brought in $4.6 million in its first five days of wide release to take ninth place.

Rounding out the Top 10 was director Jon Turteltaub’s comedy Last Vegas (CBS Films), which added another $3.8 million over the five-day holiday to bring its total to $58.7 million.

Although it fell just outside the Top 10 for the first time in two months, Alfonso Cuaron’s hit space thriller Gravity edged closer to $250 million domestically with a weekend take of $2.6 million.

The Top 10 grossed $269 million over the five-day holiday weekend, slightly lower than last Thanksgiving when returning movies The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, James Bond’s Skyfall and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln remained atop the box office with an influx of new movies, including DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians and the Red Dawn remake.

Opening in 583 theaters, Spike Lee’s remake of the Korean revenge thriller Oldboy (FilmDistrict), starring Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel L. Jackson, TANKED with just $1.25 million in its first five days, averaging less than $1,500 per venue over the weekend. Not a great way for the FilmDistrict label to be put to bed following its merger with Focus Features.

Meanwhile, the other movie about a man imprisoned for a long period of time, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom (The Weinstein Company), starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as Nelson and Winnie Mandela, opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and brought in $100,000.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.


Marvel and DC