Weekend Report: 'Frozen' Beats 'Fire,' 'Furnace' Melts
by Ray Subers
December 8, 2013
On a weekend in which most of the country was facing unusually frigid temperatures, Disney Animation's Frozen held well enough to take first place away from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Meanwhile, the lone newcomer Out of the Furnace was a major disappointment.
Frozen fell 53 percent to $31.6 million, which is the highest post-Thanksgiving gross ever ahead of Toy Story 2 ($27.8 million). In comparison, Tangled fell 56 percent to $21.6 million on the same weekend in 2010. Frozen has now earned $134.3 million, and it remains on track for a total around $250 million.
After hanging on well through the Thanksgiving holiday, Catching Fire plummeted 65 percent to $26.2 million this weekend. That's not a particularly good hold; for example, the last two Twilight movies held a bit better coming off Thanksgiving weekend. To date, Catching Fire has earned $335.9 million, and is still on pace to wind up north of $400 million.
At 2,101 locations, Out of the Furnace opened to a meager $5.2 million this weekend. That's even worse than Killing Them Softly, a similarly dark crime movie that opened to $6.8 million on the same weekend last year. Among comparable 2013 movies, it's on par with Dead Man Down ($5.3 million) and lower than last week's disappointment Homefront ($6.9 million).
With audiences distracted by holiday shopping and looking ahead to major releases later in the month, the first weekend of December is a historically slow one. Still, as the only new nationwide release, Out of the Furnace could absolutely have opened higher than $5.2 million. Unfortunately, the movie looked way too grim, and advertisements failed to convey a compelling, unique story. It also didn't help that star Christian Bale isn't necessarily bankable, and fans of his were more likely to wait to see him reunited with director David O. Russell in American Hustle.
Furnace's audience was 60 percent male, and 77 percent were over the age of 25. It received a poor "C+" CinemaScore, which suggests this is going to fade from theaters quickly over the next few weeks.
In fourth place, Thor: The Dark World fell 57 percent to $4.8 million. To date, it has earned $193.7 million, and it will pass $200 million before Christmas.
Delivery Man moved up a spot to fifth place. The Vince Vaughn comedy—which does appear to be getting some help from solid word-of-mouth—added $3.7 million for a total of $24.8 million.
Outside of the Top 10, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa inched past the $100 million mark this weekend. It's the sixth R-rated comedy to reach that level this year, which makes this one of the better recent years for adult comedies. It's also worth noting that Bad Grandpa is ending its run with about the same attendance as Jackass 3-D, which inflated its total to $117.2 million with 3D ticket pricing.
At four locations in New York and Los Angeles, Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis opened to a phenomenal $405,411. That translates to a $101,353 per-theater average, which ranks 18th all-time (eighth all-time among live-action movies). It's also ahead of a slew of late-year four theater releases like The King's Speech ($88,863), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ($77,641) and The Fighter ($75,003).
Of course, it's difficult to tell how this opening will translate as the movie expands—the Coen Bros. are right in the wheelhouse of upscale arthouse audiences, and the movie's focus around a folk singer in 1960s Greenwich Village makes this a must-see in New York. Still, with great reviews and a smattering of awards recognition, it's likely that Llewyn Davis earns at least $20 million in theaters.
The movie will receive its first expansion on Dec. 20th, though it won't reach nationwide release until sometime in January.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire topped the foreign box office for the third-straight week with $44.3 million. To date, its top market is the U.K. with $42.9 million, and overall it has earned $336.7 million overseas. Worldwide, it's grossed $673.4 million, and it will pass the original movie's $691 million total by Friday.
Frozen expanded in to a few key markets this weekend and added $30.6 million ($55.9 million total). It opened strong in the U.K. with $7.4 million, and also did well in France ($5.8 million, $8.2 million including previews). Meanwhile, it held about even in Germany and Spain. It expands in to Russia next weekend, then reaches Italy and Mexico before Christmas.
Gravity took in $10.7 million this weekend, which brings its total to a very good $380 million. Its highest-grossing market is China with $64.6 million, and it reaches its final market (Japan) on Friday. Worldwide, Alfonso Cuaron's 3D space thriller has earned $631.5 million.
Mega-budget samurai flick 47 Ronin got off to an early—and disappointing—start in Japan this weekend with a meager $1.3 million. This joins Pacific Rim and The Wolverine as American productions with Japanese elements that have failed to actually have much appeal with Japanese audiences (Pacific Rim closed with $14.8 million, while The Wolverine wound up at $8 million). 47 Ronin opens in the U.S. on Christmas Day.
Finally, Universal Pictures announced this morning that Despicable Me 2 is finally opening in China on January 10th. The animated sequel has earned $918.6 million worldwide so far, and could ultimately get past $950 million.
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• 'Furnace' to Get Burned by Holdovers 'Frozen,' 'Fire'
• 'Catching Fire,' 'Frozen' Set Thanksgiving Records
Post-Thanksgiving in Past Years:
• 2012 - Holdovers Hang On, 'Killing' 'Soft' in Seventh
• 2011 - 'Twilight' Three-peats on Quiet Weekend
• 2010 - 'Tangled' Takes Reigns from 'Potter'
• 2009 - 'Blind Side' Tackles Post-Thanksgiving Blahs
• 2008 - 'Four Christmases,' 'Twilight' Hold Post-Thanksgiving
• 2007 - 'Enchanted' Tops Slow Weekend
• 2006 - 'Happy Feet,' 'Casino' Repeat, 'Nativity' Meek
• 2005 - 'Aeon Flux' Flounders at High End of Low Expectations
• Weekend Box Office Results