Black Friday Box Office Analysis

by Tim Briody

November 30, 2013

And I'd like to note that I have an Academy Award and you don't.

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This Thanksgiving weekend, fire and ice combine to create box office history.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

After last weekend’s tremendous opening for The Hunger Games sequel, the one concern I expressed was the lack of growth the franchise saw in going from the first film to the second. We got so used to seeing explosive increases with sequels that having Catching Fire only earn a couple million more than The Hunger Games was certainly puzzling. I did suggest that perhaps the holiday week would be much kinder, and while the diehards who were already there for Hunger Games came out opening weekend, newer fans of the franchise would perhaps wait for Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday. This absolutely seems to be the case as Catching Fire is poised for a monster second weekend and is about to enter itself into the history books.

Catching Fire earned $31.9 million on Black Friday. That’s a 54.7% decline from last Friday but just 35.7% when you take out the late Thursday showings. That’s already impressive. What’s even more impressive is that this is the best single Black Friday of box office in history. Not enough? Fine. By tomorrow Catching Fire will have obliterated the Thanksgiving weekend record held by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at $82.3 million. It’s already at $67.5 million from the last three days. Any potential concerns about last weekend’s opening are gone. It’s a monster, folks. It’s at $253.2 million after seven days, it’s probably not going to cross $300 million in nine days, which would tie The Avengers for fastest ever, but it’s likely to do it on day 10, tying it with The Dark Knight.

Weekend multipliers tend to be fairly weak over this weekend, as movies are a popular option post Black Friday shopping, making it one of the strongest box office days of the year. Catching Fire should come in with a 2.5 for the weekend, which means a three-day total of $79.7 million and a five-day take of $115.3 million, both Thanksgiving weekend records.



Disney’s Frozen is no slouch even when up against fire (see what I did there?). With $26.8 million on Friday, it’s earned $53 million in just three days. The combo of Disney and a lack of good animated family options since September’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (no, Free Birds, you don’t count) create what’s going to be the second biggest Thanksgiving weekend ever; yet, it’s slightly overshadowed by the performance of Catching Fire. Still, Thanksgiving records that have stood for over a decade fell this weekend to not just one, but two films. Using 2010’s Tangled as a model for the rest of the weekend (it managed a 2.49 weekend), Frozen will land a three-day weekend of $66.8 and $93.4 million over five days.


The latest in the Jason Statham oeuvre, Homefront does not make much of an impact this weekend, earning $2.6 million on Friday after taking in $2.8 million over its first two days. Look for a weekend of $6.5 million with $9.3 over five days.

The Book Thief

Expanding into 1,200 theaters, Oscar bait The Book Thief takes in $1.9 million after earning $1.5 million since expanding on Wednesday. It’s something to watch if you’re tracking the Oscars, but it will generally be a box office non-factor. Give it $4.7 million for the weekend proper and $6.2 million for the five-day weekend

Black Nativity

Holiday themed Black Nativity also finds itself in the lower rungs of the box office, with $1.5 million on Friday after taking in just $1.1 million since Wednesday. In just 1,500 theaters, The Best Man Holiday this is not, although that’s not exactly a fair comparison. Call it a weekend of $3.9 million and $5.4 million over five days.


A drama written by and co-starring Steve Coogan(!), Philomena lands in the top ten with $1.3 million on Friday. Ostensibly a vehicle for Judi Dench to earn another acting nomination, much like The Book Thief, Philomena is capitalizing on a lack of notable releases at multiplexes to land among the top ten this weekend. Philomena should come in with a $3.2 million weekend and $4 million for the five days weekend.


Oldboy's studio isn't even reporting box office for it for Friday, but Variety is expecting a dismal take. It's barely a blip on the radar screen at this point. BOP is viewing it as an Oogieloves sequel.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 79.7
2 Frozen 66.8
3 Thor: The Dark World 11.7
4 The Best Man Holiday 8.8
5 Delivery Man 7.0
6 Homefront 6.5
7 The Book Thief 4.7
8 Black Nativity 3.9
9 Philomena 3.2
10 Last Vegas 2.8



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