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'Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' Dominate Decent Post-Thanksgiving Friday

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 30, 2013 at 2:51PM

It's feast and famine in the Top 10 this weekend, with two films, Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Disney's "Frozen" accounting for most of the action yesterday. The total overall is impressive - around $76 million - but falls short of the same day last year ($79 million) which had a much wider array of top films.
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Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."
Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

It's both feast and famine in the Top 10 this weekend, with two films, Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Disney's animated "Frozen" (Buena Vista) accounting for most of the action yesterday. The $76 million total is impressive but falls short of the same day last year ($79 million) which had a much wider array of top films ("Breaking Dawn - Part 2," "Skyfall," "Lincoln," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Life of Pi" in the top 5). But below these two films was a big drop.

"Catching Fire" and "Frozen" both look like they will top the previous record for the 5-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend ($82 million for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") by some margin. "Fire" grossed $31,250,000 for the day, down from $70 million for its combined Thursday night-Friday take last week, but still very strong. It is already at $253 million. With the aid of holiday playtime, this is $45 million ahead of what "The Hunger Games" had done after eight days.

Disney's animated "Frozen" at $26,855,000 ($53.5 million after three days) looks to be the largest post-Thanksgiving Friday animated gross ever, although it fell a bit short of what "Despicable Me 2" grossed its first Friday last summer. It is three times bigger than last year's late November cartoon offering, Dreamworks' "Rise of the Guardians," which only did $9.2 million the same day. This now looks like it will be among the year's top grossers overall, and will likely play through Christmas.

While the top two films thrived, there was a big drop below them. Last year, five more films grossed nearly $6 million or more for the day. This year's #3, "Thor: The Dark World" (also Buena Vista) did $4,450,000, actually up from last week (when "Catching Fire" devastated the rest of the field). The next two films also held well - #4 "The Best Man Holiday" at $3.4 million and #5 "Delivery Man" at $2,726,000. Both were only slightly down from last Friday's figures, all bolstered by the holiday.

#6-9 were four films either opening wide or going wider initially this week. "Homefront" (Open Road), a domestic drug war thriller co-written by Sylvester Stallone and starring Jason Statham and the ubiquitous James Franco, managed only $2,632,000 (3 days - $5,457,000). In half as many theaters (1,234), #7 "The Book Thief" (Twentieth Century Fox) in its fourth week expansion  did $1.9 million. 

Wednesday opener #8 "Black Nativity" (also from Fox) did $1,565,000 in somewhat more locations. #9 "Philomena" (Weinstein) leaped from its initial 4 theaters last week to 835 for a gross of $1,332,000, giving it a per screen average slightly above "The Book Thief" at about one-third fewer theaters (meaning the latter film performed somewhat better head-to-head). 

Rounding out the top 10 was CBS Films' "Last Vegas" at $1,105,000.

This article is related to: News, Box Office, Box Office, Box Office


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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.