Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office: Frozen Takes Over the Top Spot, Out of the Furnace Bombs

To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.

So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Frozen had the highest post-Thanksgiving gross ever, Catching Fire came dang close to already surpassing the worldwide gross of the first Hunger Games,and Out of the Furnace bombed which is not stunning considering Christian Bale’s non-Batman track record but still a tad surprising.  There was some initial suggestion that perhaps winter storms would hinder business, but in fact business was up this weekend 22% over the same weekend last year.  We seriously could not have planned this any better where when a chunk of American is frozen with ice and snow the #1 movie at the box office is Frozen.  

Let’s break it down:

Top 10 Estimated Domestic Totals for the 12/6-12/8 Box Office 

1. Frozen


  • Weekend Gross=$31.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$134.2 million
  • Budget=$150 million

Foreign: $30.6 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $55.9 million and combined worldwide total of $190.2 million.  It has now opened in over half of the potential foreign markets, but still has big markets like Russia, China, Brazil, and Japan left.

Walt Disney Animation Studios last used the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday weekend to release one of their classic princess movies in 2010 in the form of Tangled, which did big business for them to the tune of $200 million domestic/$591 million worldwide.  Last weekend, they did it again with Frozen, and watched it set a record for biggest Thanksgiving debut ever (better than Toy Story 2) and second biggest Thanksgiving 3-day/5-day weekend ever, behind only the concurrent performance of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Now in its second weekend of wide release, Frozen dropped 53%, almost identical to Tangled‘s second-weekend drop of 55%. After 12 days of wide release, Frozen is sitting at $134.2 million domestic whereas after its first 12 daysTangled had $96.5 million, which only boosts to $97 million at 2013 ticket prices.  Remember, though, that due its to years spent in development hell Tangled ended up with a budget of $260 million vs. Frozen‘s far more manageable $150 million budget.  

Where does Frozen‘s performance rank among the other 2013 animated films?  It already has a higher domestic gross than Escape From Planet Earth, Epic, Turbo, Planes, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and Free Birds, and it will end up well above The Croods ($187 million).  It is off the pace of Despicable Me 2 ($228 million after its first 12 days) and Monsters University ($185 million after its first 12 days).  Of course, those came out over the summer, and are now two of the highest-grossing animated films of all time.  It is worth noting that among the animated films of 2013 only Monsters University cost more to make than Frozen.  With the toy sales they are likely racking up (everyone wants a doll of that adorable snowman) ask Disney if they care.

2. Hunger Games: Catching Fire


  • Weekend Gross=$27 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$336.6 Million
  • Budget=$130 million

Foreign: $44.3 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $336.7 million and combined worldwide total of $673.3 million. Catching Fire is pretty much out everywhere it’s ever going to be  release except for Japan, which has to wait until 12/27

Even though Catching Fire plummed 64% this weekend its performance is an improvement upon the first Hunger Games, which was a far bigger hit domestically ($408 million total) than it was internationally ($283 million total).  Catching Fire already has a higher international gross of $336.7 million, and its combined worldwide gross of $673.3 million will surpass The Hunger Games‘ worldwide gross of $691.2 million in a matter of days.  The takeaway is that Catching Fire has maintained the domestic audience of the first Hunger Games while significantly growing the overseas audience.  This has helped it to become in a mere 17 days the third highest domestic grossing and fifth highest worldwide grossing film of 2013.  Iron Man 3 will likely end of the year atop both of those charts, but Catching Fire will be right behind it.

3. Out of the Furnace (Opening Weekend)

Out of Furnace Bale Afflec

  • Opening Weekend Gross=$5.3 million
  • Budget=$22 million

Foreign: Doesn’t make its non-film festival international debut until late January.

To see a new Christian Bale awards hopeful like Out of the Furnace tank on arrival at $5.3 million seems disappointing because, well, he’s Christian Bale.  He’s Batman, John Connor, and he’s won an Oscar.  However, when you take away his three Batman movies the average Christian Bale movie that opens on more than 600 screens in its opening weekend  only takes in an opening gross of $13 million.  If you throw out the films from his years as a child actor, that number goes up to $16 million. This modified list includes titles like Public Enemies, Terminator: Salvation, 3:10 to Yuma, The Prestige, Reign of Fire, and American Psycho.  So, yes, Out of the Furnace is his lowest opening since American Psycho ($4.9 million in 2000).  However, this is an actor who has a heightened profile due to Batman but is not really a reliable box office presence for studios.  In fact, if you look at worldwide gross vs. production budget many of his films look as if they likely struggled to turn a profit at the box office.  The good news here is that the film’s distributor, Relativity Media, had minimal risk due to a low production budget of $22 million.  Plus, Bale has the buzzworthy American Hustle coming in a few weeks.  However, this dead on arrival opening and C+ CinemaScore grade makes Furnace just the latest in a run of recent box office bombs starring high profile actors, e.g., Runner Runner (Ben Affleck/Justin Timberlake), The Counselor (Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt), etc.

4. Thor: The Dark World


  • Weekend Gross=$4.7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$193.6 million
  • Budget=$170 million

Foreign: $5.4 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $416.7 million and combined worldwide total of $610.3 million.

With a domestic gross of $193 million and worldwide gross of $610 million, The Dark World has now made more money domestically than Thor ($181 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($176 million), and The Incredible Hulk ($134 million) and more money worldwide than those same three as well as the first Iron Man ($585 million).  It will undoubtedly pass Iron Man 2’s worldwide gross of $623.0 million to end up as the third-highest worldwide grossing Marvel film (well, at least the ones that Marvel and Disney own).  However, for as much as foreign audiences have embraced The Dark World domestic audiences have spoken loud and clear that when it comes to Marvel there’s Iron Man and then everything else.  The Dark World will barely get over $200 million in domestic gross whereas every single Iron Man film has ended up with at least more than $300 million in domestic gross.  

5. Delivery Man


  • Weekend Gross=$3.7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$24.7 million
  • Budget=$26 million

Foreign: Information about its performance this past weekend is not yet available, but prior to this weekend it had grossed a combined $1.2 million foreign which now adds up to a worldwide total of $25.9 million.

Well, that couldn’t last.  Delivery Man dropped an astonishingly low 14% last weekend mostly, it seems, because everyone was so busy seeing Catching Fire the week prior they had only just gotten around to giving Delivery Man a chance.  This weekend, on the other hand, it dropped 45%, which is still not bad just nowhere near as good, obviously.  As a point of comparison, Vine Vaughn’s other 2013 comedy, The Internship, made $38 million in its first 17 days, which is how long Delivery Man has been out.  Then again, The Internship also cost almost twice as much to make.  Delivery Man‘s somewhat surprising rebound after its first rough week and low budget has now at least given it a shot to double its budget if it does well overseas.  Unfortunately, though, the international performances of recent Vince Vaughn films (The Dilemma, Couple’s Retreat, Four Christmases, Fred Claus, The Break-Up) heavily indicate he’s a far bigger draw here than anywhere else.

6. Homefront


  • Weekend Gross=$3.3 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$15.2 million
  • Budget=$22 million

Foreign: At the moment, there is no official estimate of its international performance.  However, it is currently playing in 13 foreign countries, after having opened in territories like the U.K. and Brazil this weekend.

There is still a curiosity attached to this movie – it stars Jason Statham, James Franco, and Winona Ryder and was written/produced by Sylvester Stallone. Unfortunately for them, that curiosity seems to not extend beyond “I’ll wait to rent it” for many people.  Fortunately for them, their budget was low at $22 million, and to be fair their weekend-to-weekend drop of 50% is not horrible.

7. The Book Thief


  • Weekend Gross=$2.7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$12 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: It is not currently scheduled to roll out into international territories until January.

The Book Thief (adapted from Markus Zusak’s novel) is about a young girl living with her foster parents in WWII Germany, and is adapted from a Markus Zusak novel.  It’s not clear how much it cost to make, but this awards contender is hanging around, coming in at #7 in the top 10 for the second weekend in a row.

8. Best Man Holiday

Best Man Holiday

  • Weekend Gross=$2.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$67.2 million
  • Budget=$17 million

Foreign: Made its international debut last weekend in the U.K./Ireland, the only foreign countries currently scheduled to get it.  At the moment, reports the foreign gross is less than $1 million meaning its worldwide total is only marginally boosted to $67.6 million.

Audiences may have finally had their fill of Best Man Holiday, which plunged nearly 70% this weekend, easily its worst drop to date.  This upcoming weekend its core demographic, African-Americans, will get a nice new alternative in the latest Tyler Perry Madea movie.   So, clearly, Best Man Holiday is starting to wind down.  However, Universal must be pleased with their $17 million-budgeted sequel to a movie which came out in 1999 (The Best Man) ending with a domestic gross that will surely be above $70 million.  If they weren’t pleased then their decision to already greenlight a sequel was an odd move.

9. Philomena


  • Weekend Gross=$2.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$8.2 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: Debuted in the U.K./Ireland and Iceland at the beginning of November, where it has combined to gross $16.1 million foreign for a worldwide total of $24.4 million.  It is currently only scheduled to roll out into a handful of additional foreign markets over the next two months.

Despite its strong performance last weekend, the Weinstein Company chose not to expand Philomena any further, which played this weekend on just as many screens as it did last weekend: 835.  The result was a very good 38% weekend-to-weekend decline and another finish in the box office top 10.  It actually had the third best per-screen-average ($2,733) among the top 10.

10. Dallas Buyer’s Club


  • Weekend Gross=$1.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$12.4 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: Opens in Portugal next weekend.  Other than that, Dallas Buyer’s Club won’t begin rolling out to international markets until January and February.

Dallas Buyers was one of the odd men out over the crowded Thanksgiving box office, falling out of the top 10 even though its business had declined by less than 10%.  This week, the studio appeared to increased their national promotion, landing star Jared Leto a promotional interview on The Daily Show, and they expanded to add 38 more locations.  Its business actually dropped 42%, but it was still strong enough to crack back into the top 10.


What Happened Outside of the Top 10?

Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: Last Vegas (from #10 to #11) and Black Nativity (from #9 to #14).  Elsewhere, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa finally passed the $100 million mark domestically.  With $100 million domestic/$139.3 million worldwide, it is now easily the second highest-grossing Jackass film ever, trailing only the 3D-inflated $117 foreign/$171 worldwide haul of Jackass: 3D.  

Notable Performances from Films In Limited Release: Inside Llewyn Davis pulled in $402,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.   That equates to a location average of $100,500, which is the best of the year for any film, better than even Blue Jasmine’s $100,500.  Not surprisingly, it’s also the best location average for directors Joel and Ehtan Coen, besting A Serious Man‘s $41,890.  Of course, such averages are invariably going to be higher for films that open in limited release.  So, how many of The Coen brothers films have actually opened on a handful of screens before gradually expanding?  Actually, almost all of them.  Of their 16 directorial efforts, only 5 enjoyed wide releases right away (True Grit, Burn After Reading, The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, The Big Lebowski).  Elsewhere, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom fell only 9% to a weekend total of $77,652 from only four locations, an average of $19,413 per location which is the second best of the weekend behind Llewyn Davis.

What’s Up Next?: A fire-breathing dragon who sounds oddly like Sherlock Holmes (or at least the BBC version) graces movie screens in Peter Jackson’s somewhat hilariously named The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  Courting the African-American audience is the latest Madea movie from Tyler Perry (A Madea Christmas).  Both open wide on Friday (12/13).  Other than that, those who live in the really, really, really big cities get first crack at extremely limited openings for American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks.

Jeez, enough with the numbers already.

1 comment

  1. Who has time to watch all that? In ancient Rome there was “panem et circenses” where the poor got cheap or free entertainment. Now the government pays up front via all kinds of social sinecures and thus subsidizes a huge industry that would otherwise find not as many viewers …

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