Weekend Wrap-Up

Catching Fire & Frozen: Round Two

By John Hamann

December 8, 2013

He's taking over the country this weekend.

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After a Thanksgiving frame where box office records fell much like the snow blanketing North America this weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen are doing battle again over the post-holiday frame.

This moviegoing weekend had many things working against the box office, most of all the weather. A deep freeze in Texas, cold in the southwest, a storm through the Ohio Valley – all of these weather issues can impact box office. Other problems include the post-Thanksgiving blues. Where moviegoers came out in such force last weekend for Catching Fire and Frozen, some are taking the weekend off. Then, we have Christmas shopping starting to get in the way, and a lone wide opener in Out of the Furnace. Despite an impressive cast, Out of the Furnace is likely not Oscar bound, so the crunchy subject matter kept people away. Leftovers from last weekend are all that remain, and a typically slow weekend is in the cards for the top 12.

Our #1 film of the weekend is Frozen, last weekend’s #2 film and Disney’s animated hit that has arrived just in time for the holidays. Frozen needed to hold much better than Catching Fire, because the Lionsgate sequel already has $300 million in the bag domestically, whereas Disney would like Frozen to play strongly for next three-plus weekends in order to take advantage of the Christmas moviegoing season. The Friday number for Frozen came in at $6.8 million, a massive-but-expected drop of 75% from its first wide Friday. Thanksgiving Friday is the powerhouse day of that long weekend, so a comparison to one of the busiest days of the year to one of the slowest is not wise. Historically, films drop considerably from the Thanksgiving weekend to the follow-up frame, and given the weather across the continent, Disney should not hit the alarm bell. This is all normal. Nothing to see here. Carry on.


The good news for Frozen is that the weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) should be huge, and it was. Saturday and Sunday are the important days for an animated film like Frozen, as the target audience is more available to see a film. For Disney, these Saturdays and Sundays will act as a bellwether for what is to come over the holidays, once the kids are out of school for Christmas break. The weekend multiplier for Frozen came in at 4.6, which means the Disney Animation product had a second weekend gross of $31.6 million, and the kids came out as they should have over Saturday and Sunday. The weekend take equals a drop from last weekend at 53%, but again, this is more of a hangover from last weekend than an indication of the $150 million film’s performance. After 12 days of wide release, Frozen has already earned $134.3 million domestically.

Frozen crossed the $100 million mark on Wednesday, only its eighth day of wide release. Normally, Pixar releases make $100 million in eight days, not Disney Animation products. Tangled took 16 days to reach the same mark, and was not a limited release at the outset. Tangled dropped 56% in the post-Thanksgiving frame, almost an identical amount to Frozen, and went on to earn $200 million at the domestic box office, with $75+ million of that coming after schools got out for Christmas break. Should the similar pattern apply, it would put Frozen on track for at least $225 million, if not a lot more. This is going to be a huge hit for the mouse house, one that will play on and on through home video, toy sales and blankets. It should pull in as much as $700 million globally, just from the box office. Frozen 2 is definitely on the table at this point.

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