A Saturday surge carried Disney’s family movie “Frozen” to No. 1 at the U.S. box office this weekend, ending the two-week reign of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
Disney Animation’s 3D kids film was trailing Katniss and her cohorts by roughly $2 million after Friday, but families turned out in force Saturday and drove it to a $31.6 million three-day total.
The Jennifer Lawrence sequel had a slim lead with $8 million after Friday, but wound up with $27 million for second. No one is too disappointed at Lionsgate; “Catching Fire” is a blockbuster, having taken in more than $336 million domestically and more than $673 million worldwide.
Also read: Harvey Weinstein Opens Up About ‘Mandela’ Plans in Wake of Leader’s Loss (Exclusive)
The weekend between Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas movie crush is typically a slow one at the multiplexes, and that was the case this year as most of the studios stayed way. Peter Jackson’s latest epic, “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug,” opens on Friday.
This week’s only wide release was Relativity Media’s R-rated Christian Bale drama “Out of the Furnace,” and it finished a distant third with just $5.3 million, at the low end expectations that were modest to begin with.
Directed by Scott Cooper, “Out of the Furnace” was produced for $22 million by Ridley Scott and Leonard DiCaprio, along with Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Relativity chief Ryan Kavanaugh and Michael Costigan.
The reviews for “Out of the Furnace” were so-so (52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and first-night audiences – 60 percent male and 77 percent over 25 — gave it just a “C+” CinemaScore. That was despite a strong supporting cast featuring Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard and Willem Dafoe.
“There’s no better swing for a studio to take than one with a daring story from a renowned director and an award-winning cast,” said a Relativity spokesman. “While we had hoped it would perform better this weekend, we are all proud of this movie.”
Disney movies “Thor: The Dark World” ($4.7 million) and “Delivery Man” ($3.7 million) were fourth and fifth, and the Jason Statham thriller “Homefront” ($3.3 million) was sixth. The Marvel superhero sequel “The Dark World” is up to $193 million domestically and more than $610 million worldwide.
Fox added 82 more theaters to the run of its awards hopeful “The Book Thief” and it brought in $2.7 million from 1,316 locations, a 44 percent drop from last week.
Just behind that in eighth was Universal’s “Best Man Holiday” with a $2.6 million pace three-day total that upped its domestic total to $67 million, and two other films with awards ambitions followed.
The Weinstein Company’s Judi Dench drama “Philomena” took in $2.2 million from 835 theaters, off 38 percent from last week.
Focus Features added 38 theaters and the Matthew McConaughey-Jared Leto AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” took in $1.4 million from 734 locations, a 42 percent from last week. It has taken in $12.4 million since opening six weeks ago.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” made its limited debut on four screens for CBS Films and it took in a whopping $402,000. That’s an impressive $100,500 per-screen average for the Oscar hopeful drama that stars Oscar Isaac as young singer at the crossroads during the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
In terms of per-theater average, it’s the Coens’ best opening ever, topping the $43,797 rung up by Oscar Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men” when it took in $1.2 million from 28 theaters in 2007.
And it could wind up the year’s best limited debut when Sunday’s actual numbers come in, since the estimates have it just behind ‘Blue Jasmine,” which averaged $102,011 on six theaters when it opened in August.
TWC’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” starring Idris Elba as the iconic South Africa statesman who died last week, remained on four theaters in its second week and brought in $77,652. That’s $19,413 per theater, off just eight percent from last week.
The movie will be rolling out wider to 850 or so theaters on Christmas Day. In an exclusive and tearful interview with TheWrap, TWC chief Harvey Weinstein said he has resisted suggestions to take the movie wider, sooner because of the news, and refuses to consider tying considerations about the fate of the movie with Mandela’s death.
Meanwhile, “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” became the year’s eighth film comedy to pass the $100 million mark at the domestic box office. The R-rated Johnny Knoxville tale has earned another $40 million overseas, and is a big winner for Paramount and MTV Films, since its production budget was just $15 million.