Weekend Wrap-Up

By Tim Briody

December 1, 2019

Frozen fractals?

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Thanksgiving weekend is here and unlike the deluge of new movies in other years, just there's one mid-tier and one lower-tier release, both of which do well, but the overarching theme of 2019 box office continues as we finally reach December: Disney rules it all.

There were no threats to Frozen II winning a second weekend; the only question is how minimal the decline would be. With an $85.2 million second weekend, that's a 35% decline from the huge opening weekend. But over the traditional five-day Thanksgiving box office weekend, Frozen II earned $123.7 million, giving it an amazing $287.5 million in just 10 days. In what's a rare feat for sequels in this day and age, thanks to Frozen's runaway popularity when it hit video, its $400.7 million total is already in trouble.

Disney has also likely underestimated Sunday a bit, as they not only tend to do so (weird of the company dominating the industry to show some modesty), but they may also be taking into account the snowstorm affecting parts of the country.

Even with an expected big decline next weekend (The Void beckons), Frozen II has more than enough momentum to be the third big player come Christmas, against Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and (hopefully) Jumanji: The Next Level.

The big Thanksgiving release this weekend, Knives Out, takes $27 million for the weekend and a solid $41.7 million in five days. Directed by Rian Johnson, who is loved or despised depending on your feelings about The Last Jedi, Knives Out is a modern day murder mystery film that's earning some of the best reviews of the year (96% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes).

With an ensemble cast so huge that if you're not in it, you should seriously consider firing your agent, Knives Out is something that should be a popular pick for the next few weeks and hopefully through the holidays. Between the calendar configuration and the pre-Christmas weekends featuring only one giant release, there's going to be plenty room for Knives Out to find an audience, even when it runs into a loaded Christmas.

Ford v Ferrari adds $13.2 million for the weekend (down just 16%) and $18.9 million in five days, and has $81 million in three weekends. That's enough of a holiday bump that should get it to the $100 million mark as we wait to see if it can get any more awards traction.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood holds well (it's kind of a theme this weekend), dipping just 11% to $11.7 million for the weekend and $17.2 million in five days. After two weekends, the Mister Rogers not-quite-biopic has $34.3 million. Sources have the budget as low as $25 million and as high as $45 million, so it's almost in the safe zone, though I think Sony is a little disappointed with the outcome here. Tom Hanks is likely getting a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and it's in the conversation for other awards, though currently on the outside looking in.


The weekend's other new release takes fifth place as Queen & Slim earns $11.6 million for the weekend and a five day total of $15.7 million. That's not bad at all for something in just 1,690 theaters. A crime drama starring Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim drew good reviews (84% Fresh) and Universal targeted the release well, and it'll make back more than enough to cover its $20 million budget even if it drops off from here.

21 Bridges has the biggest drop among the top ten, but it's just a 37% decline to $5.8 million, and the Chadwick Boseman thriller has just $19.4 million in two weekends. It has yet to reach its budget of $33 million, and this again shows why the studios should not automatically go casting people from the MCU in everything because those movies made money.

The best hold this weekend goes to John Cena's Playing With Fire. As the only family film not called Frozen II, it makes sense. Dipping just 7% to $4.2 million and $6 million in five days, it's got a total of $39.2 million in four weekends. With just a $30 million budget, Paramount will be happy with the final total of Playing With Fire, as Cena now has a burgeoning family film career ahead of him if he wants it (hey, it worked for The Rock...)

Midway continues to flounder, adding $3.9 million in its fourth weekend and $5.7 million in five days as it reaches $50.2 million to date. That's half of what it cost to make, which is usually not a good thing. It has made up the other half overseas, but Midway is a huge disappointment for Lionsgate.

In its ninth weekend, Joker continues to hold on, adding $2 million for the weekend and $2.9 million over five days, giving it $330.6 million to date. Joaquin Phoenix is getting a Best Actor nomination and Joker might get a Best Picture nomination and that's just what it's come to because of this box office total.

Last Christmas wraps it up this week with $1.9 million and $41.6 million in four weekends. I stand by what I said about the Hallmark Channel.

The top 12 films this weekend earned $170.2 million. By virtue of the calendar, 2019 easily tops last year's $109.3 million, which is when we were in the first week of a two-week Void. This is pretty much what it takes for a box office weekend in 2019 to beat a box office weekend in 2018. That or Avengers. And maybe Star Wars. But that's it!

Speaking of The Void, next weekend brings us the most depressing box office week of a year. There is nothing new of note releasing into theaters, and all the current films that enjoyed good holds on this holiday weekend will collapse massively. Yes, even you, Frozen II. It's terrible. See you next week!

Top Ten for Weekend of November 29-December 1, 2019
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Frozen II Walt Disney 85.2 -35% 287.5
2 Knives Out Lionsgate 27.0 New 41.7
3 Ford v. Ferrari 20th Century Fox 13.2 -16% 81.0
4 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony Pictures 11.7 -11% 34.3
5 Queen & Slim Universal 11.6 New 15.7
6 21 Bridges STX Entertainment 5.8 -37% 19.4
7 Playing With Fire Paramount 4.2 -7% 39.2
8 Midway Lionsgate 3.9 -15% 50.2
9 Joker Warner Bros. 2.0 -26% 330.6
10 Last Christmas Universal 1.9 -36% 31.6
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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