NORTH AMERICA: Studio Weekend Estimates: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Sets New Five-Day Thanksgiving Weekend Record with $110.2M; 'Frozen' Ices Expectations with $93.0M Five-Day Start on November 28, 2013
Sunday Update: Lionsgate reports that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire grossed an estimated $74.5 million over the weekend and $110.2 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday frame. The blockbuster action-adventure sequel starring Jennifer Lawrence established new unadjusted Thanksgiving weekend records in a big way, as it easily outpaced the respective $57.49 million and $82.39 million three-day and five-day grosses of previous record holder Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone way back in 2001. Catching Fire also generated the fourth largest unadjusted second weekend performance of all-time (behind only last year's Marvel's The Avenges, 2009's Avatar, and 2008's The Dark Knight). For the three-day frame, Catching Fire was down 53 percent from last weekend's debut.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has grossed a massive $296.56 million in its first ten days of release. That places the film an impressive 19 percent ahead of the $248.48 million ten-day take of last year's The Hunger Games (which fell 62 percent in its second weekend to gross $58.55 million).
Disney's Frozen was also especially impressive over the holiday frame with estimated respective three-day and five-day grosses of $66.71 million and $93.01 million. The latest 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation set new records for the largest three-day and five-day unadjusted Thanksgiving openings of all-time, which had been previously held by 1999's Toy Story 2 with respective three-day and five-day takes of $57.39 million and $80.12 million. Frozen exceeded its already lofty pre-release expectations in a big way and outpaced the $68.71 million five-day start of 2010's Tangled by a very healthy 35 percent. With the addition of a five-day exclusive run in Los Angeles before opening wide on Wednesday, Frozen has grossed $93.36 million to date.
The five-day start for Frozen was especially impressive when considering that there isn't much competition for family audiences scheduled this December, which along with strong word of mouth (the film received an A+ rating on CinemaScore) and critical reviews could help lead to a very lengthy run for the film. The audience breakdown for Frozen skewed towards female moviegoers (57 percent) and moviegoers 25 and under (58 percent). Family moviegoers made up 81 percent of the film's total audience.
Fellow Disney release Thor: The Dark World placed in a distant third with an estimated three-day take of $11.11 million, which represented a 22 percent decline from last weekend. Marvel's blockbuster superhero sequel grossed $15.49 million over the five-day frame. Thor: The Dark World has grossed $186.71 million through 24 days of release. That places Thor: The Dark World 17 percent ahead of the $159.89 million 24-day take of 2011's Thor and leaves the film $13.29 million away from reaching the $200 million domestic milestone.
The weekend's other new major releases not named Frozen left much to be desired. Open Road's Homefront led the pack with respective three-day and five-day debuts of $6.97 million and $9.796 million, though it should be noted that it opened in significantly more locations than The Book Thief, Black Nativity and Philomena did. The action thriller starring Jason Statham and James Franco debuted 17 percent below the $12.00 million five-day Thanksgiving weekend start of 2010's Faster. Homefront received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore.
Over the three-day frame, Fox's The Book Thief grossed $4.85 million (from 1,234 locations), Fox Searchlight's Black Nativity grossed $3.88 million (from 1,516 locations) and The Weinstein Company's Philomena took in $3.79 million (from 835 locations). Respective five-day grosses were $6.40 million for The Book Thief, $5.00 million for Black Nativity and $4.60 million for Philomena. Black Nativity had the most disappointing performance of the trio, given that it had the highest opening weekend expectations of the three and is also likely to be the most front-loaded. Black Nativity did receive a promising A- rating on CinemaScore.
Off to an even softer start was FilmDistrict's Oldboy. The Spike Lee directed remake managed respective three-day and five-day debuts of only $0.85 million and $1.25 million from 583 locations. Obviously, Oldboy won't be in theatres for long after its poor performance this weekend.
Saturday Update: Lionsgate reports this morning that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire earned another $31.25 million on Black Friday, up 110 percent from its Thanksgiving Day haul. That brings the sequel up to a $253.2 million domestic haul through 8 days of release, 33 percent ahead of the pace of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. BoxOffice projects Catching Fire will bring in $74 million for its sophomore weekend as part of a record $109.7 million five-day Thanksgiving window (topping 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone which grossed $82.39 million).
Disney's Frozen increased 142 percent from Thanksgiving Day to $26.86 million on Friday, keeping it significantly ahead of the opening performance of any recent Walt Disney Animation film with $53.5 million bagged in just three days. By comparison, Tangled earned $39.5 million over the same Wednesday-Friday holiday frame in 2010.
Frozen is successfully capturing an audience that has been underserved in recent weeks: families, once again proving that female-leaning films can succeed even in a competitive marketplace. Stellar reviews have been driving buzz for the film, and early word of mouth appears quite strong with 91 percent Flixster users approving of or still anticipating seeing the film. BoxOffice is projecting a $67 million 3-day weekend gross for Frozen, making for a stellar 5-day debut of $93.3 million.
Open Road Films reports that Homefront accounted for $2.632 million on Friday, marking an 88 percent jump from its second day of release on Thanksgiving. The Jason Statham-James Franco thriller has brought in $5.46 million through its first three days (19 percent less than 2010's pre-Thanksgiving opener from CBS Films, Faster) and is on pace for a $6.6 million 3-day weekend and $9.4 million 5-day start. Word of mouth appears to be on the low end of modest with 70 percent of Flixster users giving their approving vote.
Looking at this weekend's lower profile releases: The Book Thief swiped $1.9 million yesterday, giving it a projected $4.8 million 3-day weekend and $6.4 million 5-day start. Meanwhile, Black Nativity added $1.57 million on Friday as it remains on track for disappointing $3.9 million 3-day and $5.0 million 5-day frames.
Friday Update: Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney's Frozen both continued to impress on Thanksgiving Day. Both films held up relatively well on Thursday for films of their size on Thanksgiving and both films are still on pace to top the current all-time unadjusted five-day Thanksgiving weekend record of $82.39 million set way back in 2001 by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was down 28 percent from Wednesday to gross an estimated $14.9 million on Thursday. That represented the largest unadjusted Thanksgiving Day gross of all-time (topping the $13.14 million take of 1999's Toy Story 2) and places the film's Wednesday and Thursday total at $35.7 million (Wednesday's estimate has been revised slightly upwards to $20.8 million). Catching Fire has grossed a massive $225.06 million in its first week of release. That represents the sixth largest seven-day total of all time and was 17 percent stronger than the $189.93 million seven-day start of last year's The Hunger Games. Based on grosses for Wednesday and Thursday, BoxOffice is currently projecting respective three-day (Friday through Sunday) and five-day grosses of $70.3 million and $106.0 million for Catching Fire.
Frozen was down a similar 27 percent from Wednesday to gross an estimated $11.09 million on Thursday. The latest computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation has grossed a stronger than expected $26.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday. That is 32 percent stronger than the $19.94 million two-day start of 2010's Tangled (which fell 32 percent on Thanksgiving Day to gross $8.07 million). BoxOffice is currently projecting respective three-day and five-day takes of $63.7 million and $90.0 million for Frozen.
Fellow Disney release Thor: The Dark World held steady in a distant third place with an estimated $2.04 million. That represented a 13 percent decline from Wednesday's performance. Thor: The Dark World has grossed $175.60 million through three weeks of release. The superhero sequel from Marvel is currently on pace for respective three-day and five-day holiday grosses of $11.0 million and $15.4 million.
Grosses for the weekend's lower profile major releases remained soft on Thanksgiving Day. Open Road's Homefront was up 2 percent over Wednesday to gross an estimated $1.43 million, Fox's The Book Thief was up 14 percent to gross $0.825 million and The Weinstein Company's Philomena was up 15 percent to gross $0.434 million. Meanwhile, Fox Seachlight's Black Nativity was up a sizable 55 percent over Wednesday, but the film's Thursday take of $0.680 million was still quite disappointing.
Based on grosses for Wednesday and Thursday, BoxOffice is currently projecting respective five-day hauls of $9.1 million for Homefront, $5.8 million for The Book Thief, $4.0 million for Black Nativity and $3.3 million for Philomena.
Thursday Update: Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney's Frozen were both simply massive on Wednesday. While it is still early, both films appear set to top the current all-time unadjusted five-day Thanksgiving weekend record of $82.39 million set way back in 2001 by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Before yesterday, Catching Fire had been widely expected to top that record, but Frozen had not.
Catching Fire took first place on Wednesday with an estimated $20.7 million. That represented a strong 30 percent jump over Tuesday's already impressive performance. Catching Fire surpassed the $200 million domestic milestone on Wednesday and has grossed $207.06 million in its first six days of release. That places Catching Fire 14 percent ahead of the $181.76 million six-day start of last year's The Hunger Games. Based on Wednesday's performance, BoxOffice is currently projecting respective 3-day (Friday through Sunday) and 5-day Thanksgiving weekend takes of $68.0 million and $103.0 million. That would place The Hunger Games: Catching Fire within shouting distance of the $300 million domestic milestone by the end of the weekend.
Frozen was also impressive on Wednesday with an estimated opening day performance of $15.21 million. The latest 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation is on track to exceed expectations after it opened 28 percent stronger than the $11.87 million opening day performance of 2010's Tangled. With the addition of a five-day exclusive run in Los Angeles, Frozen has grossed $15.56 million to date. The film's opening day performance was especially impressive when considering that there isn't much competition for family audiences scheduled this December, which along with strong word of mouth and largely positive critical reviews could help lead to a very lengthy run for the film. BoxOffice is currently projecting respective 3-Day and 5-Day Thanksgiving weekend grosses of $60.5 million and $86.0 million for Frozen.
After a decade of largely lackluster grosses, Walt Disney Animation has certainly rebounded in the last few years with the performances of Tangled, last year's Wreck-It Ralph and now Frozen. The next film from Walt Disney Animation, Big Hero 6, is scheduled to be released in theatres on November 7, 2014.
Fellow Disney release Thor: The Dark World finished in a distant third on Wednesday with an estimated $2.34 million. Marvel's blockbuster superhero sequel was up 21 percent over Tuesday. Thor: The Dark World has grossed $173.56 million through 20 days, which places the film 16 percent ahead of the $149.41 million 20-day take of 2011's Thor. BoxOffice is currently projecting respective 3-day and 5-day holiday grosses of $11.5 million and $16.3 million for Thor: The Dark World.
The weekend's new major releases not named Frozen were all off to rough starts on Wednesday. Open Road's Homefront led the pack with an estimated $1.4 million. That places the action thriller starring Jason Statham and James Franco on pace for respective three-day and five-day starts of $6.1 million and $9.0 million.
Fox's The Book Thief grossed just $725,000 on its first day of wide release. That brings the early total for the drama to $2.18 million through Wednesday. Look for The Book Thief to earn respective three-day and five-day takes of $4.2 million and $5.7 million.
The news was worse for Fox Searchlight release Black Nativity, which managed only $440,000 on Wednesday. Despite a noteworthy cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson, at the end of the day there simply wasn't room for Black Nativity in the marketplace after the stronger than expected performance of The Best Man Holiday earlier this month. Black Nativity is on pace for disappointing respective three-day and five-day starts of $2.6 million and $3.5 million.
The Weinstein Company's Philomena finished just behind Black Nativity (albeit in roughly half as many theatres), with $377,000 on Wednesday. The drama starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan is on track for three-day and five-day grosses of $2.5 million and $3.3 million.
Check back throughout the weekend for further updates on the Thanksgiving weekend box office.
Reality Check: Why Some (Wrongly) Think 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Underperformed on November 26, 2013
By Shawn Robbins
Lionsgate, the freshly minted seventh major studio whose movies had never posted a domestic opening weekend of more than $41 million until last year, just established one of the best debuts ever with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's $158.1 million bow.
Yet, many seem to be under the impression that number is disappointing.
Sure, if someone's portfolio fell victim to Lionsgate's 10 percent slide in shares yesterday, they may be justifiably disappointed by that fact. Don't blame it on the movie, the studio, or audiences though. Blame it on the fanboy mentality which dictates bigger isn't good enough anymore; a mentality that essentially requires even the most optimistic of expectations to be exceeded, and if they're not, perception dooms healthy performances into classifications such as "non-eventful" and "let down". Unfortunately, as we saw on Wall Street yesterday, that mentality affects the real world, too.
Worst of all, indulging in said thought process precedes avoiding the responsibility of being able to step back and say, "the movie's doing great business, the signs were just misread." Flawed thinking has skewed perceptions of the box office in recent years, inaccurately portraying major financial successes as disappointments, and moderate disappointments as outright flops.
Not every highly anticipated sequel is going to shatter box office records like Marvel's The Avengers or The Dark Knight. And that's okay! What, then, should be the measure of a satisfying performance? Profitability is a good place to start, as are the long-run domestic and global grosses of a film (all measures by which Catching Fire is an undeniable winner).
How about also including the fact that Catching Fire retained the entire upfront audience of its somewhat front-loaded predecessor? That alone is impressive, especially when considering the sequel is facing a more competitive marketplace.
Or, let's focus on the point of Catching Fire now representing the highest opener in history to be anchored by a female leading character--obviously, taking over the first film's claim to that honor. That's encouraging news in an industry still figuring out how to get away from its male dominance.
Internationally, the film is already posting a massive improvement over the first (whose overseas earnings were muted due to pre-brand growth). Catching Fire generated $307.7 million in its worldwide opening, about 45 percent stronger than the first film's debut.
Still not convinced? The biggest variable overlooked by tracking in the days and weeks leading up to Catching Fire's debut was that it doesn't have the aid of 3D surcharges like Iron Man 3 did when it opened to a massive $174.1 million (16 percent less than Avengers) earlier this year and was considered the opposite of "disappointing"--rightly so. That gross represents the same approximate number (with some margin for error) of actual tickets sold for Catching Fire. All things being equal, would Iron Man 3 have been considered "disappointing" had it not played in 3D and opened between $150-160 million?
Perspective has been sacrificed, perhaps, for collective ego. It's one thing to turn box office runs into standardized competitions that offer up arbitrary bragging rights across movie fandoms--and between studios, perhaps. To some, that's part of the fun of movie communities such as the BoxOffice Forums. Still, it shouldn't come at the cost of objectivity. Like with anything in life, some expectations (even well-argued ones) prove wrong, and that includes holding a 2D movie to the same standards of a 3D movie (something BoxOffice cautioned against long before Catching Fire's release).
If a movie "fails" to reach high-end expectations at the box office while still boasting impressive performance metrics (as Catching Fire does) that other movies under similar circumstances don't attain, that simply means the analysis was off somewhere. Even the most reliable forms of tracking can be fallible in the ever-evolving science of box office, making the human element that much more important.
Let's make Catching Fire's opening a teachable moment. Let's remember when something like The Avengers: Age of Ultron or Star Wars: Episode VII "fails" to hit a $250 million opening weekend in 2015, it won't mean the movie disappointed. It will simply lend perspective to differentiate optimism from realism.
What do you think about Catching Fire's debut, readers? Sound off on the BoxOffice Forums!
'CATCHING FIRE' AND 'FROZEN' HEAT UP FANDANGO’S FANTICIPATION WITH BRISK ADVANCE TICKET SALES FOR THANKSGIVING WEEKEND on November 26, 2013
"FROZEN" IS FANDANGO'S TOP ADVANCE TICKET-SELLER AMONG ANIMATED ORIGINAL FILMS
LOS ANGELES - November 26, 2013 - According to Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination, Thanksgiving weekend will be a hot one at the movies, based on strong ticket sales and moviegoer buzz for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Disney's animated film, "Frozen," debuting in theaters nationwide tonight. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "Frozen" scored 91 and 90 out of 100 points, respectively, on Fandango's Fanticipation movie buzz indicator.
Advance ticket sales for Disney's "Frozen" are heating up, as the movie now ranks as Fandango's top advance ticket-seller among animated original films (non-sequels), outselling Pixar's hit animated film, "Brave," the previous record-holder, at the same point in the sales cycle on Fandango.
"'Frozen' is a charming crowd-pleaser that is gaining great word-of-mouth momentum," said Dave Karger, Fandango Chief Correspondent and Host of Fandango's movie recommendation show, "Weekend Ticket." "It's definitely the top choice for families with young kids during the long Thanksgiving weekend."
According to a survey of more than 1,000 "Frozen" ticket-buyers:
· 93% say the strong sisterhood bond between the leading female characters increased their interest in seeing the movie;
· 86% plan to see the movie as part of a Thanksgiving family outing;
· 83% claim it's a family tradition to see a Disney movie (e.g., The Muppets, Tangled, Enchanted) during the holiday season.
"Frozen" star Josh Gad, voice of Olaf, the magical snowman, provides a special video message just for Fandango Fans, and encourages moviegoers to see "the epic 3D action" in RealD. The video is live on the front page of Fandango.com.
About Fandango's Fanticipation
Known for having its finger on the pulse of moviegoers, Fandango's movie buzz indicator, Fanticipation, provides statistical insight into the movies fans are planning to see in a given weekend. Fanticipation scores (based on a 1 to 100-point scale) are calculated via an algorithm of Fandango's advance ticket sales, website and mobile traffic, and social media engagement. Fanticipation is not intended as a forecast of the weekend box office; it is a snapshot of movie fan sentiment.
GLOBAL: ‘Catching Fire’ Reigns in IMAX with $18M Haul on November 25, 2013
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire finished the weekend with an impressive $307.7 million from 65 territories around the world. IMAX is accounting for a healthy $18 million contribution to that figure, with $5.4 million of that tally coming from overseas.
The full press release from the film's record-setting November weekend is pasted below:
IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) announced today that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second film in the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, has grossed approximately $18 million in IMAX theatres worldwide and $12.6 million in 347 IMAX® theatres in North America since its release Friday, Nov. 22, resulting in a domestic per-screen average of approximately $36,300. That is the best three-day domestic opening for November in IMAX history, topping the previous record set by Sony's Skyfall in November 2012.
For the weekend, eight of the top 10 domestic runs for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire were IMAX engagements.
Internationally, the film delivered a robust $5.4 million in multiple IMAX territories, including standout performances in the Netherlands ($73,000 per-screen average), Australia ($63,000) and the United Kingdom ($51,000). Overall, the film has grossed an estimated $307.7 million through Sunday for Lionsgate worldwide and an estimated $161.125 million in its opening weekend domestically.
The film led the entire IMAX network to its second best overall weekend ever with total worldwide grosses for IMAX reaching $25.7 million.
"We're excited that fans are seeking out the IMAX format in record numbers as the ideal way to experience The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," said Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX Entertainment and Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. "I want to congratulate and thank our partners - producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, director Francis Lawrence, and Lionsgate - who realized the full potential of IMAX by using our capture technology in the arena sequences and proved once again that the Hunger Games series is a world-class franchise. Given the film's ‘A' Cinemascore and the use of IMAX differentiation, not to mention the Thanksgiving holiday in front of us, we're optimistic about the film's long-term prospects."
Helping to further eventize this cultural phenomenon and transport moviegoers into the world of Panem, director Francis Lawrence used IMAX's extremely high-resolution cameras to film portions of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Exclusively in IMAX® theatres, when Katniss enters the arena the image will expand to fill the IMAX screen for the entire arena sequence with unprecedented crispness and clarity, putting moviegoers right into the action alongside Katniss and her fellow Tributes.
GLOBAL: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Spreads Worldwide with $307.7M Bow on November 24, 2013
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire delivered the big weekend it was promising, bringing in $307.7 million in its global day-and-date debut. The Hunger Games sequel posted a 45% improvement above the original's $211.8 million worldwide bow.
Catching Fire spread to 63 overseas territories and returned with a $146.6 million haul, more than doubling the opening weekend gross of the original in most major markets. The United Kingdom posted a $19.8 million debut, a massive improvement over the original's $7.7 million bow in the market. The U.K.'s opening weekend is more than half of the original's $38.1 million cume in the market. Catching Fire graced the $13 million mark in Germany, over 300% better than the original's $4.2 million opening weekend. Catching Fire nearly reached the $11 million mark in its Russian roll-out, already in striking distance of overtaking the original's $13.3 million lifetime gross in the market. IMAX screenings accounted for $5.4 million of the overseas opening haul and $18 million of the global gross.
The top markets for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire include the United Kingdom ($19.8M), Brazil ($13.6M / 2nd Weekend), Germany ($12.8M), Australia ($11.5M), Russia ($10.8M), and Mexico ($10.7M). The film's $146.6 million overseas total is already halfway to the original's lifetime overseas cume of $286.3 million.
A $35.5 million opening in China launched Gravity to a $331.5 million overseas total. IMAX brought in 20% of that figure with a $7.4 million contribution to the film's debut, making it the biggest IMAX opener of all time in China. Gravity has now grossed $577 million worldwide. Other top markets for Gravity include France ($42.8M), the United Kingdom ($31.4M), South Korea ($27.9M), and Russia ($21.1M).
Thor: The Dark World took $6 million from its Italian debut this weekend, a great start for the superhero sequel. The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has now grossed $381 million after four weekends overseas, a more than $100 million improvement above its predecessor's $268 million lifetime gross overseas.
Thor's top markets include China ($48.3M), Russia ($34.6M), the United Kingdom ($29.6M), Brazil ($23.9M), Mexico ($21.9M), France ($20.9M), and South Korea ($20.4M). Thor: The Dark World has grossed $548.8 million overseas, nearly $100 million more than the $449 million worldwide total of the first Thor film. Thor: the Dark World will open in Japan, its only remaining market, on February 1, 2014.
Delivery Man opened day-and-date in Russia and finished the weekend with a $1.2 million take. The Russian premiere combined with a disappointing $8.3 million bow in North America to give the Vince Vaughn vehicle a $9.4 million global debut.
The Counselor has shown resiliency overseas, with its star-studded cast drawing bigger numbers outside of North America. The thriller reached a $30.1 million overseas cume this weekend to take its global total up to $46.8 million.
Bad Grandpa held on to a $1.5 million weekend in its second frame in Australia, finishing in second place above Thor: The Dark World and culminating the weekend with a $5.5 million cume. The Jackass film has now grossed $33 million overseas and $128.5 million worldwide.
Despicable Me 2 is enjoying the closing moments of its overseas run with a $550.6 million cume. The animated sequel is the #2 film of the year in terms of overseas and global numbers. The film has grossed $917 million worldwide.