Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Knives Out Opens Huge As Frozen II Scores Record $126.3 Million

Plus, Mr. Rogers has a beautiful few days and Queen and Slim opens strong on the Thanksgiving weekend of November 29-December 1.

by | December 1, 2019 | Comments

The overall box office for the top 10 films over the Thanksgiving holiday may not have beaten last year’s record ($298.63 million), but the film at the top of the heap did break a significant record. Disney’s Frozen II bested the five-day holiday record set by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($109.93 million) back in 2013. Even more impressive that: Anna, Elsa, and Olaf did it in the film’s second weekend, and the stage is set for the animated film to best even more numbers in the coming weeks.

King of the Crop: Frozen II Soaring to $1 Billion Club 

To no one’s surprise, Frozen II led the Thanksgiving holiday with a five-day haul of $126.3 million, with $85.3 million of that coming over the weekend. That is the eighth-best second weekend of all time, wedged between Disney’s 2017 Beauty and the Beast ($90.4 million) and, well, Disney’s Incredibles 2 ($80.34 million). Overall, the film has grossed $287.6 million in 10 days, which is the 15th-best ever for 10 days, between Captain America: Civil War ($295.96 million) and The Dark Knight Rises ($287.11 million). It is the 25th film to have grossed over $250 million in its first 10 days of release. Only three of those films (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Furious 7, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) failed to reach $400 million total. Amongst the 12 other films to have $75 million-plus second weekends, only one of them (Avengers: Age of Ultron) failed to reach $500 million total. However, only two of those movies opened in the holiday season (Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar). Frozen II has already amassed another $451 million worldwide for a total of $738 million as it marches to become another $1 billion grosser for Disney.

Fresh Surprise: Knives Out Shows Original Films Can Still Murder At the Box Office 

It wasn’t a total surprise for us at RT – we had placed it in the top 5 holiday earners in our winter box office preview – but Rian Johnson’s Knives Out surpassed all tracking service expectations by earning $41.7 million since opening Wednesday. The $27.7 million it earned over the weekend puts it amongst the top 20 Thanksgiving holiday weekends ever – and it is just the fifth film not rated “G” or “PG” to be on that list. Some 61 films have opened in November and grossed over $40 million in their first five days; only four (Pokemon: The First Movie, Dumb and Dumber To, The Muppets, and Unbreakable) failed to reach at least $100 million total. That means Knives Out could join Hustlers, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Us as the only films not based on a previous film or property to reach that milestone in 2019.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Queen and Slim Gets a Solid Start, Word-of-Mouth Boosts Beautiful Day

Queen and Slim
(Photo by © Universal)

It was back and forth over the holiday for third place, but James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari won the race with $13.22 million over the weekend and $18.99 million for the five days. No film opening in November to have grossed at least $74 million in 17 days has failed to reach $100 million. Ford v Ferrari currently stands at $81 million, but its magic number is still going to be around $250 million globally to find its way into profit. With just over $143 million internationally, it is still less than 60% of the way there.

Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood got the word-of-mouth bump over the holiday we were expecting. It is now outpacing Roland Emmerich’s Midway, which just passed the $50 million mark this weekend. Gothika, Starship Troopers, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms are the only November films to have $34 million after 10 days and not finish with at least $60 million. Midway is looking to join that list given its third weekend ($3.95 million) was less than what those three films earned in their third weekend. Meanwhile, the Mr. Rogers film, which stands at just over $34 million to date, had a better second weekend ($11.8 million) than any live-action film in November to have $37 million or less by day 10 of wide release (aside from Jingle All the Way). This suggests that a final gross over $70 million is still very possible for the $25 million-budgeted film.

The other newbie of the week was Melina Matsoukas’s Certified Fresh Queen & Slim, which grossed $11.7 million over the weekend and $15.8 million over the full holiday. That is $800,000 more than what Widows had last year in its first five days before ultimately finishing with $42 million. Last week’s cop thriller, 21 Bridges, is up to just $19.45 million after 10 days, which puts it in After the Sunset/Delivery Man territory. Its second weekend ($5.82 million) was about $1 million less than the Vince Vaughn comedy and 21 Bridges may be up at around just $28-$30 million when it leaves theaters. Finally, Todd Phillips’ Joker spent its eighth straight week in the top 10. It has passed $330 million domestic, $1.048 billion worldwide, and is Warner Bros.’ fourth-highest grossing film of all time. Joker also passed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to become the 35th highest-grossing film of all time.

This Time Last Year: Another Possession Could Not Scare Ralph From Top Spot

Ralph Breaks the Internet
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

It was the weekend after Thanksgiving so grosses were down a bit, but still a lot of people were going to the movies. The only major new release was The Possession of Hannah Grace, which opened in seventh place with $6.4 million. Ralph Breaks the Internet was again on top with $25.56 million, passing the $100 million mark. The Grinch moved up to second with $17.92 million, enough to pass the $200 million line. Creed II fell back to third with $16.63 million and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had the steepest fall in the top 10 (61.3%) to $11.36 million. The top 10 films grossed a total of $106.19 million and averaged 61.4% on the Tomatometer; this year’s top 10 grossed an estimated $166.98 million over the weekend and averaged 67.3% with critics.

On the Vine: A Balloon Adventure and an Acclaimed Romance Set to Light Up Indie Box Office

The weekend after Thanksgiving is usually a dead zone for new releases and indeed only one film is going wide and that is the oft-delayed animated film from STX, Playmobil: The Movie. The $75 million production was moved from January to April to August and then into December. It has grossed just $12.4 million in international waters to date, and may have trouble matching that here. In limited release, try to catch The Aeronauts on the biggest screen possible as it is not often you get a chance for a hot air balloon adventure with Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne – especially one that’s Certified fesh at 84% on the Tomatometer to date. Even more acclaimed is the 98%-rated Portrait of a Lady On Fire. The beloved French romance was a hit at Cannes this year, winning Best Screenplay, and it is also nominated for Best International Film at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards.

The Full Top 10: November 29-December 1

  1. Frozen II (2019) 77% – $85.25 million ($287.57 million total)
  2. Knives Out (2019) 97% – $27.02 million ($41.7 million total)
  3. Ford v Ferrari (2019) 92% – $13.22 million ($81 million total)
  4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) 96% – $11.8 million ($34.31 million total)
  5. Queen & Slim (2019) 82% – $11.7 million ($15.81 million total)
  6. 21 Bridges (2019) 53% – $5.82 million ($19.46 million total)
  7. Playing with Fire (2019) 22% – $4.2 million ($139.2 million total)
  8. Midway (2019) 42% – $3.96 million ($50.28 million total)
  9. Joker (2019) 68% – $1.98 million ($330.6 million total)
  10. Last Christmas (2019) 46% – $1.9 million ($31.66 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

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