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Top Ten Box Office: 'Frozen' and 'Catching Fire' Lead Limping Pack; 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Starts Off Huge

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood December 8, 2013 at 1:03PM

The weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday is usually one of the year's weakest. The top two films, Disney's "Frozen" and Lionsgate's "Catch Fire," both grossed more than any previous film for a similar weekend at $31.6 and $27 million respectively, blowing past previous record holder "Tangled" at $21.6 million.
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"Frozen."
"Frozen."

The weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday is usually one of the year's weakest. The top two films, Disney's "Frozen" and Lionsgate's "Catch Fire," both grossed more than any previous film for a similar weekend at $31.6 and $27 million respectively, blowing past previous record holder "Tangled" at $21.6 million. But the total for the entire Top 10 was only $85 million, down from the $101 million achieved last year by a much deeper slate of hits (five films grossed over $12 million).

2013's post-Thanksgiving weekend was as late as it can be. By a fluke in the calendar shifting weeks, the equivalent weekend last year was two weeks after Thanksgiving. This year is up by $17 million, pushing the year to date total closer to parity going into the final few weeks of 2013. Although several upcoming films, including next week's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" look promising, 2012 ended with a bang that could be difficult to outmatch.

Speaking of promising, the Coen brothers' new release "Inside Llewyn Davis" opened in four New York/Los Angeles theaters to a $400,000 for a per screen average, just below "Blue Jasmine." More on this and other specialized films in Arthouse Audit shortly.

1. Frozen (Buena Vista) Week 3 - Last weekend #2

$31,641,000 (-53%) in 3,742 theaters (unchanged); PSA (per screen average): $; Cumulative: $134,278,000

"Tangled" previously had been Disney's best Thanksgiving animated feature opening (at $48 million, compared to $67 million for "Frozen"). This fell less on its second weekend and rose to #1, establishing itself as a long-run film. "Tangled" was able to hold more than 2/3s of its theaters through Christmas (some at a matinee-only shows) with lower grosses going into the holiday on its way to a $200 million gross. This second weekend performance indicates an even brighter future for "Frozen."

What comes next: "Despicable Me 2" at $367 million is the year's biggest animated grosser, which is a bit higher than "Frozen" might reach. But "Frozen" should overtake "Monsters University" (also Disney) which topped out at $268 million.

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate) Week 3 - Last weekend #1

$27,000,000 (-64%) in 4,163 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $6,486; Cumulative: $336,700,000

Still a strong gross (to put it mildly) even with a big drop, this female-driven sequel now is after 17 days the #3 film of the year, already $45 million better than "Man of Steel" (whose production budget was almost $100 million higher). Very impressive, to say the least.

What comes next: This now has a chance -- with enough theaters holding it through Christmas -- to outdistance "Iron Man 3" as the best domestic grosser of 2013 as well as to equal its series' predecessor. (It needs to reach $409 million to do so).

3. Out of the Furnace (Relativity) NEW - Cinemascore: C-; Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 64

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, Box Office, Thompson on Hollywood, Frozen, Hunger Games: Catching Fire , Thor: The Dark World, Inside Llewyn Davis, Philomena


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.