November 29, 2013

THANKSGIVING DAY BOX OFFICE: “Catching Fire” and “Frozen” Carve the Turkey


As usual, Thanksgiving Day itself was down for many films.  However, that didn’t keep the holiday’s pair of blockbusters from rewriting the record books.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (Lionsgate) set a new Thanksgiving Day record with $14.9M, tearing past the $13.1M set by Toy Story 2.  With the meat of the holiday weekend still to come and $35.6M already earned in 2 days, it now seems likely to pass $100M for the full 5-day weekend, possibly as high as $110M.  Apart from easily setting a new holiday record (currently $82.4M for the next-to-last Harry Potter), that would put it close to $300M by Sunday, which would be the 3rd highest 10-day gross in US history, behind only The Avengers ($373.1M) and The Dark Knight ($313.8M).  It would also put Catching Fire in good position to pass Iron Man 3‘s $409M as the top-grossing film in the US this year (Iron Man 3 will remain hundreds of millions ahead overseas, despite Catching Fire‘s international bump over The Hunger Games–it’s now at $201M outside the US, just $82M below Hunger Games’ entire overseas gross after 10 days, but nowhere near Iron Man 3‘s $806.4M).

FROZEN (Disney), after a $11.1M Thursday, should set a record of its own this weekend, passing Toy Story 2 for the biggest-ever Thanksgiving opening weekend (and also passing the soon-to-fall Harry Potter overall Thanksgiving record, although it’ll be behind Catching Fire).  Yesterday’s holiday number was 37% ahead of the Thanksgiving earnings for Tangled, and with limited competition this holiday season, Frozen could skate to $250M before it’s done.

Nothing else was close to those two.  HOMEFRONT held almost even with Wednesday with $1.4M, and might hit $10M for the 5-day weekend.  BLACK NATIVITY (Fox Searchlight) showed the limitations of percentage analysis, as it had the biggest holiday bump by far on Thursday, up 55% from Wednesday, but remained at a tiny $680K in 1516 theaters, unlikely to reach $5M by Sunday.  OLDBOY (FilmDistrict) fell 14% from its pathetic Wednesday to $180K and may not even get to $1.5M at 583 theatres over the 5-day holiday.

Expansions stayed very mild.  THE BOOK THIEF (20th) rose 14% on Thanksgiving to $825K at 1234 theatres, with $7M likely by Sunday.  PHILOMENA (Weinstein) was similarly up 15% at 753 theatres to $434K, perhaps $3.5M for the 5-day weekend. NEBRASKA (Paramount) was up 11% to $90K at 102 theatres, aiming at $750K by Sunday.

The only holdovers doing any business were THOR: THE DARK WORLD (Disney), down 13% for the day to $2M (it should be at close to $185M by the end of the weekend, still likely to hit $200M in the US), DELIVERY MAN (DreamWorks/Disney) up 9% for $1.4M, which will still have it at no more than $20M total by Sunday, and THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (Universal), up 13% to $1.4M, with a total over $60M by Sunday.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."