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411 Box Office Report: Frozen II Rules Again, Knives Out Scores Strong #2

December 1, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Frozen II Knives out

There was no stopping Frozen in its second weekend, as it dominated the Thanksgiving weekend for a second frame at #1. The Disney sequel raked in an additional $85.3 million over the three-day weekend and a fantastic $123.7 million for the five-day weekend. That’s a record for Thanksgiving weekend, beating The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s $109.9 million take in 2013. The three-day drop from last weekend was just 35%, much better than the 53% drop for the first film; it must be said though that Frozen II’s second weekend had the benefit of the Thanksgiving bump while the first film’s second weekend was the weekend after Thanksgiving, so it’s not a fair comparison.

That said, there’s no denying that the sequel will be even bigger than the first at this point. Frozen II now stands at $287.6 million domestically in just 10 days and $738.6 million worldwide, put it well ahead of the first film’s pace. While this one will probably have worse holds going forward than its predecessor, it’s hard not to see it getting to $450 million domestically by the end of its run thanks to the holiday boosts. It’s another smash for Disney in a year full of them.

Elsa didn’t freeze out the box office for the newcomers though, and Knives Out made its own splash. The Rian Johnson-directed whodunit nailed down $27 million domestically over three days and $41.7 million since opening on Thanksgiving. Those numbers are massive overperformances for a film that was looking at a respectable $25 million five-day gross by most estimations. It’s a favorable comparison to the recent ensemble mystery Murder on the Orient Express, which opened in early November 2017 and had a three-day start of $28.7 million.

Knives Out always felt like a breakout success, even if the tracking suggested somewhat lower numbers. The Lionsgate film has been building buzz ever since opening at Toronto International Film Festival in September. Some analysts were down on the film since it wasn’t an established IP and came from the director of the polarizing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with a few political bits in the dialogue that could turn people off of it. However, the critical reception won out; Knives Out reps a top-notch 96% critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, and the A- CinemaScore suggests that the film’s comedic tone and willingness to take jabs at both sides is resonating with audiences.

Alll in all, this means that the film should be boosted by some strong worked of mouth. The film’s star-heavy cast (Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and more) have brought in some international appeal, with the movie at $70 million worldwide thus far. In the US, it’s guaranteed at least $100 million, with very likely more besides that. That makes the film a hit against its $40 million production budget and a movie that is making Lionsgate very happy.

Ford v Ferrari had a very strong hold, down just 16% to $13.2 million for the three-day and $19 million over the five-day weekend. The racing biopic now has $81 million domestically and $143 million worldwide, speeding its way toward profit against its $97 million budget. If things head up for it in award season, it should be able to top $130 million in the US and would be able to make a profit before leaving theaters thanks to the overseas numbers.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was another one with an amazing hold, down just 11% in its second weekend for a $11.8 million three-day take. The five-day gross was $17.3 million. It’s good news after a slightly low weekend last frame, with the Tom Hanks film now at $34.3 million. It looks like the good word of mouth will serve this one well throughout the weekend; more notably, look at the number of films targeted at older crowds (this, Ford v. Ferrari, Knives Out) that are performing well at the box office. Older crowds tend to bring it stronger holds from week to week, so the fact that they’re playing well directly against each other is good news for them and for the box office as a whole. Neighborhood should be able to get to $55 million or more, and with a $25 million budget will have to lean only slightly on foreign grosses when they start coming in.

Queen & Slim opened at #5 for the weekend, exceeding expectations in its own right. The crime drama brought in $11.7 million, above the single digits number most had it pegged at, and $15.8 million for the five-day take. It’s another example of a film resonating with critics (85% on RT) but also with audiences, who gave it an A- CinemaScore. That’s good news for this $20 million-budgeted film, which kept its marketing campaign targeted and thus lower cost.

Queen & Slim is occupying a particular niche in the cinemas that has no direct competition at the moment, and combined with the positive word of mouth it should do well. $45 million isn’t outside the realm of possibility at all, which may be enough for a little bit of profit. Overseas grosses are likely to be lower if at all existent, so this one will seek to make all of its money here.

21 Bridges slipped 37% in its second weekend. The crime thriller brought in $5.8 million over the Friday to Sunday period and $7.9 million for the five-day take. That’s a solid performance for a film that needs it. Right now, the Chadwick Boseman-starrer stands at $19.4 million domestically and $22.2 million worldwide against a $33 million budget. It looks likely to close out around $30 million still in the states, which would mean that we’ll have to see how the international expansion goes before a profit margin is within sight.

John Cena’s Playing With Fire keeps its winning track going, as it was off just 7% for the three-day weekend with $4.2 million and $6 million for the five-day weekend. The family comedy now stands at $39.2 million domestically and $44.5 million worldwide, solid numbers against a $29 million budget. It should be able to make it to profit and in the US will close out around a solid $50 million.

Midway was down 15% in its fourth weekend with $4 million for the three-day and $5.8 million over five days. The Roland Emmerich-directed film now has $50.3 million domestically and $106.1 million worldwide against a $100 million budget. It has a long, long way to go before it hits profit, an unlikely measure, but it should end its US run with $58 million to $60 million.

Joker scared up another $2 million three-day score ($2.9 million five-day), bringing itself to $330.6 million domestically and $1.048 billion worldwide. It’s still looking likely to end at $335 million domestically from a $55 million budget, one of the biggest hits of the year.

Last Christmas was down 36% in its fourth weekend to score $2 million ($2.8 million for five days). The holiday-themed film now has $31.7 million domestically and $67.9.6 million worldwide. It looks like it may well hit profit after all, with a $20 million budget plus marketing. The US total should be upwards of $36 million.

There are a couple of new releases next weekend, but neither is looking too exciting. The animated PLAYMOBIL comes from STX and is unlikely to get much above $5 million, while The Aeronauts may not even get that high. That will leave Frozen II as a three-weekend champion.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Frozen II – $85.3 million ($287.6 million total)
2. Knives Out – $27 million ($41.7 million total)
3. Ford v Ferrari – $13.2 million ($81 million total)
4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – $11.8 million ($34.3 million total)
5. Queen & Slim – $11.7 million ($15.8 million total)
6. 21 Bridges – $5.8 million ($19.4 million total)
7. Playing With Fire – $4.2 million ($39.2 million total)
8. Midway – $4 million ($50.3 million total)
9. Joker – $2 million ($330.6 million total)
10. Last Christmas – $2 million ($31.7 million total)