Catching Fire & Frozen: Round Two
By John Hamann
December 8, 2013
That puts The Hunger Games: Catching Fire down to second, after two full weeks of literally steamrolling any competition. Eventually, the Fire was going to cool down a bit, and it’s happening this weekend, as Catching Fire pulled in $27 million, off a seemingly monstrous 64% compared to last weekend. Given the weekend we are in, making judgements about where a film like this can end up is dangerous, as the post-Thanksgiving weekend could also be called a statistical anomaly. Just like Frozen, Catching Fire fell 75% from Friday-to-Friday, so like the number one film this weekend, Catching Fire could realistically play strongly through the holiday season. There are only four new films to come prior to Christmas Day, so the showdown next weekend with The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug will be key.
Should Catching Fire have another weekend like this one next weekend, it will struggle to get to $400 million. If it finds some holding power – despite Smaug - I think a finish very similar to the original Hunger Games ($408 million) is in the offing, and this will be fine with Lionsgate. As I have said in previous columns, simply matching the original is going to be a success for the studio. What Lionsgate needs is an improvement on the foreign take, which came in at $283 million for the original, and has already been easily surpassed with the sequel. Domestically, the cumulative total sits at $336.7 million; globally, it is at almost $675 million, all against a $130 million production budget.
This is where the good news ends at the box office, as the smaller films and holdovers have been abandoned in favor of these newer blockbusters. Finishing third is our lone new release this weekend, Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and the lovely Zoe Saldana. Out of the Furnace carries tough subject matter for the holiday season, and audiences stayed away. The Relativity/Red Granite release earned only $5.3 million this weekend from a middling 2,101 venues, which means it had a low gross AND a low venue average, at $2,523. With mixed reviews almost splitting critics down the middle (58 fresh versus 54 rotten at the time of this writing), Out of the Furnace did not have the Oscar cachet necessary to be relevant, and is overly serious to be sought after as an action film (which didn’t help Homefront, either). It will go on to earn $15 million domestically against a $22 million budget, with some of those costs mitigated through foreign pre-sales. In the end, it won’t be a complete disaster, but no one is going to see profit from it.
Thor: The Dark World is fourth this weekend, as it continues to push toward to $200 million domestic. After earning $11.1 million over the holiday frame, the Marvel sequel drops 57% to $4.7 million this weekend. It has outgrossed the original Thor domestically ($193.6 million versus $181 million), and has obliterated the foreign score, with the original earning $268 million overseas, compared to over $415 million for the sequel. Thor crossed $600 million globally this weekend, which is an impressive feat, as the original earned $450 million worldwide. The Dark World will cross the $200 million mark domestically over the next two weeks.