The Thanksgiving weekend estimates for Disney’s “Frozen II” jumped around from day to day, but the final estimate for the 5-day holiday period has settled at $123.7 million, passing the $109.9 million record set in 2013 by “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
That total has this animated sequel leaving the original “Frozen” in the dust.
The original film opened on Thanksgiving weekend in 2013 and took a 5-day start of $93.7 million, meaning “Frozen II” outperformed it this weekend by 32% before inflation. “Frozen” also had a total after two weekends in theaters of $134 million, and “Frozen II” has more than doubled that with $288 million.
“Frozen II” will likely pass the original’s total domestic run of $400 million early next week and is already approaching $1 billion with a global total of $738 million. The film grossed $163.8 million overseas from Friday to Sunday and has an international total of $451 million. In Russia, the film set a new animated opening weekend record with $13.7 million and has already passed the lifetime cume of “Frozen” in 11 countries, including China, which has seen its theatrical market rapidly expand since the first film’s release.
Thanksgiving audiences weren’t just turning out to see sequels, though. Lionsgate found success with MRC/T-Street’s mid-budget whodunnit “Knives Out,” which is estimated for a $41.7 million 5-day opening from 3,461 locations. The film was projected for a long holiday weekend opening of around $30 million, but very strong word of mouth has helped push it past its reported $40 million production budget before the weekend was up. The film also took in $28.3 million overseas for a $70 million global opening.
Critics have raved about “Knives Out” since its Toronto premiere, giving it a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, and audiences are in agreement with an A- on CinemaScore. By comparison, director Rian Johnson received an A from CinemaScore polls for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and a B for his 2012 sci-fi thriller “Looper.” Audience breakdown was near 50/50 in terms of gender and 68% over the age of 25.
The other wide release this weekend was Universal/Makeready’s drama “Queen & Slim,” which sits at No. 5 in this week’s charts with a $15.8 million opening from 1,625 screens against a reported $20 million budget. Like “Knives Out,” word of mouth has been strong for this socially-conscious film from director Melina Matsoukas and writer Lena Waithe, with critics giving it 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences giving it an A- on CinemaScore.
As expected, turnout for “Queen & Slim” heavily skewed African American, with the demographic accounting for 54% of the audience. Age demographics were also fairly even, with 32% coming from the 18-24 group, 27% from 25-34 and 16% over the age of 45.
Between “Knives Out” and “Queen & Slim” on the charts were holdovers “Ford v Ferrari” from Fox and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” from Sony/TriStar. “Ford v Ferrari” took in $19 million to bring its domestic total to $81 million and global total to $143 million. “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” was just behind in fourth with a $17.2 million 5-day total, giving it a 10-day total of $34.3 million.
Overall, the 5-day weekend has generated an estimated $260 million in combined grosses, approximately 21% down from last year’s holiday record $315.5 million total. While new releases overperformed, the lack of strong numbers from early November releases in the lower part of the charts weighed down this year’s total.
This year’s weekend ranks sixth on the all-time Thanksgiving charts, on level with the $260 million total earned in 2016 by films like “Moana,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Doctor Strange.”