Weekend Wrap-Up

Fire & Ice: Holiday Combo Scorches $200 million 5-Day

By John Hamann

December 1, 2013

Uh oh. Did Katniss and Peeta go to Hunger Games Heaven?

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has made the other big YA franchises look silly this weekend. Last weekend, BOP told you that following the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 debut, it declined 69% over Thanksgiving "weekend", but still earned $86.3 million (61% of its $141 million opening weekend) over Thanksgiving week. Catching Fire declined 53% on Thanksgiving “weekend”, but took in $145.8 million over Thanksgiving week, which equals 92% of its $158 million opening weekend. So, after only 10 days of release, Catching Fire has a domestic cumulative total of $296.5 million. With that estimate and expected Monday box office, Catching Fire will become only the third film in history to reach $300 million in 11 days or less. Marvel’s Avengers did it in nine days, and The Dark Knight did it in 10 days. That is six days faster than the original Hunger Games did in 2012.

Where is it headed? First off, Catching Fire is pretty much apples to everything else released on Thanksgiving’s oranges. It's tough to compare Catching Fire to anything in the Twilight canon, as Catching Fire has already outgrossed them all after only 10 days. Same goes for Harry Potter. Catching Fire will have outgrossed seven of the eight films by the end of the week, with only the finale, at $381 million, left to catch. The only comparison then is Marvel, buy with their only November experiment being Thor: the Dark World, it is tough to compare. Given the track Catching Fire has taken to $300 million over only 11 days and realizing that next weekend competition-free next, and also that there’s been no real sign of slowing, makes me think this is a $400 million earner. The worldwide amount has also now reached $573 million, so it looks Lionsgate is well on its way to its first billion dollar movie. Catching Fire has already effectively matched the overseas revenue of The Hunger Games with $276.4 million; its predecessor grossed $284.8 million during its entire international run.

Finishing second, then, is Frozen, and after a $26 million Wednesday and holiday Thursday, Disney knew it had a hit on their hands, as Tangled, their last one-word Thanksgiving hit earned $19 million over the same period. For Frozen, the opening weekend record was in the bag by Friday, as it took in $26.9 million. The three-day gross for Frozen is estimated at a Thanksgiving record $66.7 million. The five-day tally is a remarkable $93 million.


Frozen is the second biggest film ever to not open at number one, as The Day After Tomorrow was a prior second place finisher that earned $68.7 million against the second weekend of Shrek 2. Frozen's weekend edges out World War Z, which was the penultimate film the weekend of June 21, 2013, with $66.4 million. Frozen, with its critical success (84% fresh at RottenTomatoes) and potential word-of-mouth (A+ Cinemascore), could skate far into the holiday season and reap the rewards of a big open combined with legs. Including its limited release take from last weekend, the Disney feature has earned $93.4 million.

Tangled, Disney’s last animated Thanksgiving release, opened to $68.7 million over five days in 2010, or pretty much what Frozen did over three days this year once we factor in ticket price inflation from $7.89 in 2010 to today. Tangled managed to turn that debut into a $200 million domestic gross, an amount Frozen will easily match. Other than Walking With Dinosaurs on December 20th, Frozen has no competition through Christmas and should absolutely dominate. Tangled also managed to earn almost $400 million overseas, and Frozen will likely increase on that amount as well. It started with $16.9 million in a handful of markets this weekend, so give the movie right at $110 million globally in its debut. The film cost $150 million to make and should earn four times that worldwide.

Third is Thor: The Dark World, which is following the pattern of its predecessor. The Dark World pulled in $11.1 million over Thanksgiving weekend, off a respectable 22%. The original Thor’s fourth weekend was also a holiday, Memorial Day, and Thor earned $9.5 million that weekend and fell 38%. Adding in the holiday Monday, Thor had earned $160 million after four frames. The Dark World has earned $186.7 million domestically, and has now crossed $400 million overseas with a current total of $404.4 million. Its current global gross is $591 million, $142 million beyond the original and still going.

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