Thanksgiving Box Office Analysis

By David Mumpower

November 29, 2013

I see soon to be dead people.

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Equally impressive is Disney’s Frozen. The glowingly reviewed animated tale grossed $11.1 million yesterday. Look at the list above once again and you will appreciate that this is the seventh highest Thanksgiving total over the last 15 years. Frozen is poised to surpass Toy Story 2 to become the Disney’s best Thanksgiving performer. With $26.6 million already in the bank, the same rules apply for the behavior of this title. It should expand at least 100% tomorrow, meaning a 2.35 multiplier is a strong possibility. That would give Frozen a $61 million weekend and roughly $90 million over five days. Tangled has been most often mentioned in comparison to Frozen. It managed $68.7 million in 2010. Frozen will easily surpass that amount. With the holy grail of an A+ Cinemascore on its resume, Frozen is likely to become a $250+ million blockbuster for Disney. It should be the family film of note through the end of the year.

The rest of the top ten is obviously less exciting than the top two. There are a few stories to track, though. Keep in mind that the rising tide of holiday box office will lift all boats. And that is what makes the stunning failure of Oldboy all the more remarkable. The ultra-violent Spike Lee remake has already failed so completely that star Josh Brolin is threatening to start calling people out in the media. The film is being exhibited in only 583 locations and there is no plan for further expansion. The $30 million production is unlikely to earn $5 million this weekend, making it an Oogieloves type of failure. Combined with Miracle at St. Anna, this marks the second dramatic failure over the past five years for Spike Lee, one of the most talented directors in the world. Now is probably the time for him to consider an Inside Man sequel. He sorely needs a hit.

There were a couple of small scale titles of note that debuted/expanded this week. Black Nativity grossed a moderate $686,000 yesterday. It is pointed toward a five day take of $4 million, give or take a few hundred thousand. Meanwhile, the critics' darling, The Book Thief, garnered $725,000 on Thanksgiving. It has a real chance at $6 million, which is stellar for a title exhibited in fewer than 1,250 locations.


The other new debut is the latest low budget title from Open Road Films, Homefront. The latest Jason Statham punching people title grossed $1.4 million yesterday, bringing its two-day take to $2.8 million. It should reach about $9 million over the five day holiday. Once again, a frugal investment from Open Road Films pays off.

Finally, Last Vegas grossed $580,000 yesterday, which isn’t particularly noteworthy in and of itself. What is important is that CBS Films claimed their most popular domestic title of all time this week. Last Vegas usurped The Woman in Black on Tuesday. With $55.9 million worth of North American revenue, the old man’s hangover flick has become another small scale triumph. While Disney continues to destroy the competition overall in 2013, Open Road Films and CBS Films are demonstrating how to maximize profits with smaller production investments. For that matter, so is Lionsgate, which still leaps to my mind when I think of smaller studios despite Twilight and The Hunger Games. I have enjoyed tracking their ascendance over the past decade.

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