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Weekend Box Office: Fire Beats Ice Over Record Thanksgiving Holiday

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By Chris Kavan - 12/01/13 at 11:03 PM CT

Hollywood has a lot to be thankful for as Catching Fire and Frozen combined for over $200 million alone. That's the big story - but it wasn't all good news as the rest of the nationwide releases faltered. Even so, it was an excellent weekend that broke multiple records and though competition is going to be heating up in the coming weeks, it should be smooth sailing for the big-name films well into December.


After easily taking the top spot last weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continued to set the box office ablaze with a $74.5 weekend total - the fourth best second weekend on record. It also took down a 12-year record as it's five day Thanksgiving total of $110.1 million crushed the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($82.4 million). The film has a 10-day total of $295.6 million and it pretty much expected to cross the $400 million mark and will probably be able to surpass the original Hunger Games total of $408 million before it is done. Although some were expecting the opening weekend to be a bit higher (final grosses had it falling short of the 2D record set by The Dark Knight Rises), it's looking like Catching Fire will have the last laugh.


Frozen might not have been able to top Catching Fire, but Disney had plenty to be happy about. At $66.7 million over the weekend, Frozen had the second-highest opening for any film not opening in the top spot (the top mark is still held by The Day After Tomorrow at $68.7 million). It had a five-day Thanksgiving total of $93 million - which is also a record by any new film opening over the Thanksgiving holiday, topping Toy Story 2 ($80.1 million). It was also a big improvement over Tangled ($68.7 million), which opened over Thanksgiving 2010. Audiences were made up of mostly families (81%) and skewed more female (57%) and they awarded it a rare A+ Cinemascore. Frozen is pretty much the de facto choice for families until Walking With Dinosaurs hits on December 20 - and that isn't likely to give it too much trouble. In fact, The Nut Job (which doesn't hit until January 17th) is probably the only real threat it faces - meaning Frozen should be able to top $250 million by the end of its run.


The mighty Thor took a light 22% drop and added $11.1 million. That gives the film a new total of $186.7 million and it officially passed Captain America: The First Avenger as well as the original Thor and it is still looking like it will be a $200 million hit before it completely winds down its run at the box office.


Dropping 32% its third weekend out, the reunion sequel took in $8.5 million and through 17 days the film stands at $63.4 million and is still eying a total north of $75 million.


The only other new film to crack the top five this week was the Jason Statham vs. James Franco action film Homefront. Opening at $6.97 million ($9.8 million for the Thanksgiving time frame) the film was in line with other recent Statham films Parker ($7 million) and Safe ($7.9 million). Still, a sub-$10 million performance has to be seen as a disappointment - though at a modest $22 million budget, it isn't likely to either make or lose much in the end.

Outside the top five: The other two movies opening this week looked even worse by comparison. Trying to match the success of Best Man Holiday, Black Nativity couldn't muster up much interest. The musical-themed film took in just $3.88 million over the weekend ($5 million for the holiday) and wound up in 8th place and will likely leave theaters as quickly as it showed up. Spike Lee's Oldboy remake was DOA - even though it didn't quite qualify as a wide release (as it opened in just 583 theaters) it still was woeful as just $850,000 for the weekend ($1.25 million holiday total) and represents one of the lowest Thanksgiving debuts of all time. Even if it decides to expand (which is questionable now given its opening) it will fall well short of its $30 million budget.

Two limited release films saw expanded releases as well. The Book Thief added over 1160 theaters and jumped from 16th to 7th place as a result. The film took in $4.85 million for a new total of $7.86 million. The bigger surprise came from Philomena - which added 831 theaters and jumped from 27th to 9th place in the process (and a whopping 2850% increase) - the $3.8 million it took in raised its total to $4.75 million and the arthouse film may find some mainstream success with those numbers.

After indulging in a huge Thanksgiving feast, Hollywood looks like it's also going to sleep off the big meal as the only new wide release film next week comes in the form of Out of the Furnace - a gritty crime thriller that isn't likely to pose much of a threat to the top two films.


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View smeagol's Profile


Wrote on 12/03/13 at 07:00 AM CT

yeah me too. loved the original so i will obviously see the hopes for it were never high and are lower now but still its a must see for me.

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Wrote on 12/02/13 at 07:11 PM CT

I knew it was going to be a niche film at the best - I still want to check it out if only to see how it compares to the Korean version (which I love). Audiences didn't show up and critical reception is lukewarm at best, but i still have enough interest that I still want to watch it. Probalby Netflix this - who knows, it might wind up a guilty pleasure.

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Wrote on 12/02/13 at 02:29 PM CT

i;m surprised about oldboy doing so bad. though its a semi drastic remake so i wont have to much sympathy , he should of cast statham for the role it would of generated more interest possibly and maybe would of done better than homefront.
though box office hits mean nothing really. there are plenty of flops that are classics..

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