November 27, 2013



The holiday box office “weekend” doesn’t officially start until today (several of the new openings began screening on Tuesday night, but their studios aren’t publicizing the results), and Mitch Metcalf’s weekend predictions are here.  Even in this pre-holiday period, though, THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (Lionsgate) is piling on impressive numbers.

After the normal heavy post-weekend drop on Monday of 64% (to $12.3M), on Tuesday Catching Fire jumped up by 30% to $16M, giving it a 5-day total of $186.4M.  That wasn’t the biggest Tuesday increase in the Top 10–movies with huge opening weekends typically fall more steeply during the following week–but compared to other pre-Thanksgiving openings, it looked very strong.  (It was the #6 non-opening Tuesday of all time, behind a pair of Avatar Tuesdays, and one each for both Dark Knights and The Avengers.)  On the same Tuesdays in 2009, 2011 and 2012, when various Twilight chapters dominated, the increases were 8%/12%/17%.  In 2010, the big title was the penultimate Harry Potter, and that was also up 17% on pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday.  All of this suggests that word of mouth for Catching Fire is comparatively strong, and that it won’t fall as steeply as those 4 movies did on their 2d weekends (70%/69%/70%61%).

Right now, Catching Fire is roughly $12.5M ahead of The Hunger Games, a gap that should get larger today, since Hunger Games didn’t have the benefit of a holiday week Wednesday.  (The Twilight movies and Deathly Hallows Part I rose 25%/13%/9%/40% on their first Wednesdays.)  However, the earlier film will make up ground on Thanksgiving itself, a weak day for moviegoing.  (The quartet of franchise movies fell 37%/38%/35%/20% on Thanksgiving.)  The following day should double Thursday or more, with a tiny drop on Saturday and a large one on Sunday as the holiday ends and people travel home.

For its part, FROZEN (Disney) will be competing with a trio of its own predecessors, since the studio owns the Top 3 5-day Thanksgiving openings:  $80.1M for Toy Story 2, $68.7M for Tangled, and $49.1M for Enchanted.  It will be hoping for at least $10M on Wednesday, with the current record-holder for pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday being $14.4M for Deathly Hallows Part 1 (not its opening day).


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."