Weekend Wrap-Up: Cool Films, Hot Box Office

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire poster

Thanksgiving long weekend set records with both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen breaking records for biggest Thanksgiving weekend and biggest Thanksgiving opening respectively. There was also good news for Thor: The Dark World over the weekend, as it topped predictions, and even while the rest of the new releases struggled, to be polite, it was a really impressive weekend. Over the three-day portion of the weekend, the box office pulled in a total of $208 million, which was 8% lower than last weekend. This is actually a very good decline, as the midweek holiday releases took some of the demand for the weekend. This was 82% higher than the same weekend last year, but this is misleading, because this weekend last year was the weekend after Thanksgiving day. 2013 was stronger than last Thanksgiving, but by 0.0456% over the three-day portion. Over fives days, the box office earned $293 million, which was almost exactly 1% more than last Thanksgiving. 2013 has regained the lead over 2012, albeit by a tiny margin at $9.62 billion to $9.61 billion. Hopefully it can maintain this lead from now till January.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had the best Thanksgiving weekend with $74.18 million over the three-day portion of the weekend and $109.94 million over five days. This crushed the previous records of $57.49 million / $82.39 million, both of which were held by Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. After just ten days of release, the film has pulled in $296.30 million, which puts it 19% ahead of its predecessor's pace. It will become the third film of the year to crack $300 million and it is on pace to top $400 million with relative ease. Where it will end up is largely dependent on how many theaters it is still playing in on Christmas day.

Frozen also broke records for biggest Thanksgiving opening weekend, assuming you don't count last weekend as its true opening weekend. The film made $67.39 million / $93.59 million over the weekend. You will note that this is more than the previous record for non-opening weekend. Including the five days where it was playing in just one theater, the film has $93.93 million. Given its reviews and the lack of direct competition throughout the entire month of December and this film should reach $250 million during its run and it might reach $300 million. The high end depends on it still being in saturation release on Christmas.

Thor: The Dark World topped expectations by a little bit with $11.09 million / $15.49 million. Its running tally rose to $186.71 million, which is already more than Thor finished with.

The Best Man Holiday landed in fourth place with $8.17 million / $10.78 million over the weekend for a total of $63.09 million after three. It has made more than enough to cover its production budget and it could stick around long enough to cover its P&A budget as well.

Homefront rounded out the top five with $6.92 million / $9.74 million. This is substantially lower than expected, but it was still the best of the three true new releases. Its reviews won't help its legs and in a couple weeks time it will see its theater count take a tumble.

Black Nativity barely cracked the top ten landing in ninth place with $3.67 million / $4.78 million. Its per theater average was barely above the Mendoza Line while its reviews are barely above 50% positive. It will likely fade very quickly and even the holidays won't be enough to save it.

Oldboy also opened this weekend, but it bombed so hard it feels mean talking about it. Many analysts, including myself, thought it would battle for a spot in the top ten and it only needed a per screen average of just over $4,600 to get there. Instead, it landed in 18th place with just $885,000 / $1.28 million. Despite really good pre-release buzz, it only managed 43% positive reviews, but even these weak reviews don't explain the film's box office result.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-12-03