'Frozen II' Headed Toward Third Straight Weekend at #1 While 'Playmobil' Bombs
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Disney's Frozen II is looking at another weekend atop the weekend box office after an estimated $7.8 million on Friday, with expectations for a third weekend around $35 million and a domestic cume topping $337 million. The performance is a bit behind Mojo's forecast, but is still in line with the average post-Thanksgiving dip for top titles.

Focus Features's Dark Waters delivered an estimated $1.39 million in its expansion this weekend into over 2,000 locations and is looking at a $4+ million three-day. To go along with that, the film received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

In terms of the week's lone new wide release, STX's Playmobil is hardly registering, delivering an estimated $167,000 from 2,337 locations, with current expectations for a three-day that won't even hit $800k. Should it manage to hit $800k, we're looking at a $342 per theater average, which ranks among the worst openings of all-time and would serve as the fourth worst opening average ever for a film debuting in over 2,000 locations (third worst if you don't count the re-release of Saw five years ago). The film received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Last weekend saw Frozen II deliver the largest three and five-day Thanksgiving performances ever as the animated film has now pushed over $300 million domestically. This weekend the animated hit is sure to hold on to the top spot for the third weekend straight, nearing $350 million in its first 17 days. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving also saw strong debuts from the likes of Knives Out and Queen & Slim, while additional adult-targeted features such as Ford v Ferrari and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood continued their solid performances. That said, this weekend's debut of STX's animated pickup Playmobil is at something of a disadvantage as Frozen is sure to eat up the majority of its audience and even Focus's nationwide expansion of Dark Waters will have to navigate a crowded marketplace to gain a foothold.

After a massive $125 million five-day performance last weekend added yet another record to the impressive start for Frozen II, this weekend sees the film enter somewhat uncharted territory. Seeing how it is only the second film ever to gross more than $100 million over the Thanksgiving five-day (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire being the other), it's tough to determine just how well it will perform this weekend. The first film went wide over Thanksgiving weekend back in 2013 after a limited debut the week prior and grossed $93.5 million over the holiday frame, going on to drop -53% the following weekend. Catching Fire grossed $109.9 million over the five-day and dipped nearly 65% the following weekend.

A look at the top grossing second weekend performances over the Thanksgiving five-day shows films that grossed over $60 million or more dropping, on average, -61.2% with Frozen's -53% dip serving as something of an outlier. With a performance as impressive as Frozen II's, it wouldn't be surprising to see a drop right around that number and a $40 million three-day performance, pushing the film's domestic cume over $340 million.

In second, Lionsgate's Knives Out delivered an impressive debut last weekend, with a five-day performance coming up just a bit shy of Creed's $42.1 million opening four years ago. That film went on to gross nearly $110 million domestically, dipping -49% over the post-holiday frame. Given the critical and audience reception to the film there is no reason to expect Knives Out will suffer too large a dip so we're expecting a drop right around -50% and a $13.5 million three-day expectation, pushing the film's domestic cume near $62 million by the end of the weekend.

For the next three spots in the top five we're looking at something of a log jam. First you have Universal and Makeready's Queen & Slim, which had a solid debut in fewer than 1,700 locations last weekend. The gross performance compares to that of 2016's Allied, but what doesn't compare is the theater count as that film was playing in nearly 1,500 more theaters and dipped -44.7% in its second weekend. Looking at the small sample available that opened within a range similar to Queen & Slim, a -45% drop doesn't seem unreasonable, which would give the film a $6.5 million second weekend, looking at a domestic cume topping $26 million by Sunday. Now whether that's enough for third place is tough to say.

Also vying for the bronze medal this weekend are Fox's Ford v Ferrari and Sony's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, both of which are adding locations this weekend. Right now we have Queen & Slim sandwiched between the two films, securing a fourth place spot, expecting Ford and Neighborhood to both drop around -47% this weekend, anticipating performances for all three coming in anywhere from $6.5-7+ million.

Focus Features

Just outside the top ten we have Focus's Dark Waters, which has played in limited theaters for two weeks and will now expand to over 2,000 locations this weekend. We've looked at a wide swath of films as comps, including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Spotlight, Roman J. Israel, Esq., On the Basis of Sex, The Hate U Give and The Walk in terms of theater gains and performance and while IMDb page views show it pacing behind all of them, the gaps in page view performance and theater count all, pretty much, tell the same story. Right now we're looking for a performance right around $4.5 million this weekend and looking ahead a lot will depend on whether or not audience response nationwide meshes with the film's critical response and early audience reaction. Right now the film is carrying a 73 on Metacritic and 92% on RottenTomatoes, both of which are great signs, but it is entering a market that is loaded with adult-targeted features and it will be a test to see if it can find its niche.

Outside the top five we find STX's pickup of the animated feature Playmobil, debuting in 2,300 locations. The film was originally set up at Global Road and was expected to hit domestic screens back in October 2017, but remained in limbo leading up to Global Road filing for bankruptcy in 2018. This, in turn, led to STX purchasing domestic rights while it began playing internationally in August of this year, so far amassing just over $12 million. That being said, expectations for this film aren't bright with industry sources looking for something anywhere from $3-6 million, while our analysis has us anticipating a performance on the lower end of that range.

A look at IMDb page view performance shows the film pacing just ahead of the early November animated bomb Arctic Dogs, which debuted with $2.9 million and behind the likes of 2016's The Wild Life, which opened with $3.34 million from 2,493 theaters. All of this has us expecting a $2-3 million performance and a short-lived theatrical run.

In limited release, Lionsgate will debut En Brazos de un Asesino in 160 locations and Amazon Studios will debut The Aeronauts in 185 theaters.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated with Friday estimates on Saturday morning followed by a complete weekend recap on Sunday.

  • Frozen II (4,348 theaters) - $43.1 M
  • Knives Out (3,461 theaters) - $13.5 M
  • Ford v Ferrari (3,746 theaters) - $7.1 M
  • Queen & Slim (1,715 theaters) - $6.5 M
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (3,491 theaters) - $6.5 M
  • Dark Waters (2,011 theaters) - $4.5 M
  • 21 Bridges (2,465 theaters) - $2.8 M
  • Playing with Fire (2,253 theaters) - $2.6 M
  • Playmobil: The Movie (2,337 theaters) - $2.5 M
  • Midway (2,100 theaters) - $2.1 M

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