The RedState Box Office Report -- Disney Has an Icy Grip on Theaters

Movies fight for the leftovers as a Thanksgiving record is made.

There was no mystery going into this weekend except for one question: Just how much will it make? The second week of a monster animated hit was assured to dominate, it was only a question of how big the snowfall windfall would be. While a behemoth (a Yeti?) dominated the overall box office was slightly down from last year, when 4 titles came in with hefty returns of at least $30 million. This year no other film hit that mark.


The Thanksgiving frame is always a big segment for studios, and Disney has made the holiday its pet project in recent years. So while the House of Mouse has locked in the Day Of The Bird the others have to adjust their releases accordingly: Schedule for the traffic, but do not release a major title that will be thumped by the big gun in theaters. Here are the numbers that were stuffing the turnstiles, with both the weekend and the 5-day holiday totals.

1. FROZEN 2 – $86.7/ $126.3 Million
A big Friday of over $34 million was nearly matched on Saturday, so there is a chance of the weekend tally getting scaled up even higher. As it stands now, however, this is a new record for the Thanksgiving 5-day total, besting that of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” six years ago. The animated sequel came up just shy of beating that title for the Thanksgiving Day record ($14.9m-$14.7m) but the Black Friday surge and Saturday’s hold takes the ice princesses to a new holiday record. As if Disney was not already snow-shoveling the cash on this venture “Frozen 2” toys are among the biggest sellers already this year, based on Black Friday sales figures.

2. KNIVES OUT – $27.7/42.4m
An adult murder-mystery proved to be successful enough counter-programming to land a strong return. Rian Johnson directs an all-star cast in an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit with flashes of comedy. The advance word on this release has been strong for weeks and it proved to be a strong draw. Compared to the recent ‘’Murder On The Orient Express’’ this is an even better debut. It is showing a trend now that original properties — when well done — are being warmly received over tired franchise fare.


3. FORD VS. FERRARI – $13.9/19.8m
Speaking of original concepts being rewarded this racing biopic set in the 1960s is in its third week of release and not only bested a debut from last week but has added screens. That’s a sign exhibitors want to keep it around.

The Fred Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks is doing well enough for Sony, if not igniting theaters. The hoped-for goal now is that Hanks may begin receiving some acting nominations in the various end of year awards lists, generating minor hype.

5. QUEEN & SLIM – $10.8/14.9m
This drama about a black couple on a first date that goes awry is doing respectable numbers but is playing on only 1,700 screens, so it has a healthy per-screen average. It was expected to be an awards season contender, but it was not on the early film festival circuit which dulled the hype. It may still nab some recognition and boost prospects in a longer run.

6. 21 BRIDGES – $5.7/7.7M
The urban police drama that debuted last week held respectively with the holiday boost. It is edging close to a $20 million haul to date, which is tracking close to expectations for the studio STX Films.

7. PLAYING WITH FIRE – 4.16/5.96m
The Jon Cena firefighter family comedy has been sticking slightly better than the others it debuted with 3 weeks ago, now edging ahead of that class of titles.


8. MIDWAY – $4.13/5.95m
Not a smash as expected, this being a historical war epic with massive CGI effects, but still a decent if disappointing run. It has earned $50 million domestic, and nearing $100 globally.

9. LAST CHRISTMAS – $1.96/2.8m
The holiday romance is finding a way to linger, having netted $30 million in quiet fashion.

10. JOKER – 1.92/2.75M
Still around after 9 weeks. Meanwhile dropping off have been gaudy releases that came after “Terminator: Dark Fate”, and “Charlie’s Angels” (which looks to be struggling to even make it to $20 million.)


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