Box Office: Thanksgiving belongs to Disney’s FROZEN 2 as it sets another major record

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!

It was absolutely no surprise to anyone that Disney’s Frozen 2 won the Thanksgiving weekend at the box office. After all, Disney has dominated the holiday weekend for decades going back to the ’90s with hits like Toy Story 2. Even though Frozen 2 opened the weekend before with a remarkable $130 million, it held its ground for a second weekend with $85.3 million (down 35%) over the three-day part of the extended Thanksgiving weekend.

That number is higher for the current record for Thanksgiving box office held by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013 with $74.2 million. That was the same weekend that the original Frozen expanded wide but only took in $67.4 million, so second time is the charm for the sequel to set a new Thanksgiving record.

The Frozen sequel made $123.8 million including Wednesday and Thanksgiving day, an impressive five-day weekend, taking its domestic total to $287.6 million. Disney will soon have its sixth movie of the year to gross more than $300 million and with plenty of holiday business to come, it could even make it to $400 million.

Again, none of this should be a surprise when you realize that the original Frozen grossed $400 million domestically on its way to Oscar gold. The only surprise might be that it didn’t make MORE money last weekend and that there was still plenty of business left for the family-friendly weekend.

The above doesn’t even take into consideration the $163.8 million that Frozen 2 made overseas this weekend with opening in Russia, Italy and Australia. The Disney sequel has grossed (you might want to sit down for this number) $738.6 million globally in less than two weeks.

The nicer surprise was that the two new wide releases, both more adult counter-programming that wouldn’t normally do well on Thanksgiving, actually did decently.

better than my prediction‘s fifth movie Knives Out, a whodunnit comedy with an astounding cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris EvansJamie Lee CurtisAna de ArmasChristopher PlummerMichael Shannon, Toni Collette and more came into the week with $2 million from previews last Friday and Saturday night. Those did the trick to get word-of-mouth going for the Lionsgate release, as it opened decently on Wednesday with $3.7 million. It then exploded on Black Friday, taking second place with $10.7 million, adding up to a $27 million three-day weekend in 3,461 theaters or $7,808 per theater.

Its five-day opening was $41.7 million, which was significantly better than my prediction earlier in the week, which just goes to show you that if a movie gets great reviews and builds good word-of-mouth, it could be a solid Thanksgiving choice even if it’s not rated PG. Knives Out matches its solid reviews with an equally solid “A-” CinemaScoreKnives Out grossed another $28.3 million internationally, so that’s a very impressive $70 million global opening.

James Mangold‘s Ford v. Ferrari dropped to third place with $13.2 million, down 16% from last weekend, bringing its three-week total to $81 million, a great start for what’s presumed to be a good Oscar run for the 20th Century Fox film. The action drama starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon has grossed $62.3 million overseas for $143.3 million globally.

Tom Hanks‘ A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Tristar) took $11.8 million in its second weekend, down just 11% from last weekend with $17.3 million over the five-day weekend. The well-received drama has grossed $34.3 million million so far, and it should continue to build strong word-of-mouth.

Lena Waithe‘s romantic crime-drama Queen and Slim, meant as a “Bonnie and Clyde” that represents the modern-day African-American experience, also did better than I projected. Starring Daniel Kaluuya (Get OutBlack Panther) and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith, it was opened by Universal Pictures in just 1,690 theaters and fared quite decently with $15.8 million in its first five days and $11.7 million ($6,911 per theater) over the three-day weekend.

Wow. I definitely underestimated this one, which just goes to prove that I was never the target audience, and because of that, I didn’t see any of the marketing that brought in a bigger audience to see this than many expected. Queen and Slim also received an “A-” CinemaScore, so it should fare well over the next few weeks.

Chadwick Boseman‘s police drama 21 Bridges (STXfilms) was knocked down to sixth place with $5.8 million (down 37%) with a ten-day gross of $19.4 million.

Paramount’s family comedy Playing with Fire followed in seventh place with $4.2 million and $39.2 million so far with eighth place going to Roland Emmerich‘s Midway with under $4 million and $50.3 million grossed domestically.

Warner Bros’ Joker just won’t go away, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the studio that has had better times, and it’s the studio’s first movie in quite some times that has stayed in the top 10 for 9 months, something Disney has done repeatedly in the past couple years. It added another $2 million over the three-day weekend to bring its domestic total to $330.6 million, putting it in the same realm as other DC Universe hits but still well below 2007’s Wonder Woman and Christopher Nolan‘s “Dark Knight” movies.

You might notice a few other November releases that are no longer in the top 10 and the most prominent one is Sony’s Charlie’s Angels, which lasted less than two weeks in the top 10, as it dropped to 14th place with just $1.3 million and less than $17 million since opening. Expect it to lose a lot of theaters in the coming weeks with Jumanji: The Next Level being Sony’s last chance to save its year.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 1 Frozen 2 Walt Disney Pictures $85.3 million -35% $287.6 million
2 New Knives Out Lionsgate $27 million N/A $41.7 million
3 2 Ford v. Ferrari 20th Century Fox $13.2 million -16% $81 million
4 3 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony/Tristar $11.8 million -11% $34.3 million
5 New Queen and Slim Universal $11.7 million N/A $15.8 million
6 4 21 Bridges Paramount $5.8 million -37% $19.4 million
7 5 Midway Warner Bros. $4.2 million -7% $50.3 million
8 6 Playing with Fire Warner Bros. $4 million -15% $39.2 million
9 8 Joker Universal $2 million -26% $330.6 million
10 7 Last Christmas Warner Bros. $2 million  -36% $31.7 million

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $167.1 million over the three-day weekend ($241 million including Weds. and Thurs.). Shockingly, that’s STILL down from last year when two sequels, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II, helped drive the Thanksgiving box office to almost $300 million over the five-day holiday. Part of that was because Ralph took in $56 million and the Creed sequel made $35.6 million, which is more than Frozen 2‘s record. Also, the third and fourth place movies made almost $30 million each, while nothing outside the top 2 this weekend made more than $15 million.

I’ll be taking off this coming week from the normal weekly Box Office Preview, because there really isn’t much to say about STXfilms’ Playmobil: The Movie, the only new wide release. Focus Features will also expand Mark Ruffalo‘s Dark Waters on Friday, while Amazon Studios will do the same for Shia LaBeouf‘s Honey Boy. You can find out how all of these movies fare right back here next Monday morning.


  1. I take it Edward does not listen to rap or R&B music much. Queen & Slim had marketing plastered all over Pandora, not to mention an original soundtrack commissioned featuring LAURYN HILL and MEGAN THEE STALLION. of course that drew attention to it. you have Lauryn Hill fans (like me) who are eager to hear anything new from her since she rarely puts out new music (cuz of mental health issues, thankfully most fans are respectful about that; we’re always just happy when she has something fresh), Megan fans (like me) who are still listening to her phenomenal debut album from earlier this year. I had no idea Q&S was coming out til I saw the OST and Pandora ads. (I haven’t seen Q&S yet, but I’ll check it out when it’s out on DVD)

  2. Zack, you would be absolutely correct. I don’t listen to rap or R&B and definitely not on Pandora (I’m more of a Spotify guy) although you may be surprised to learn that in my early days as a recording engineer, I had a couple singles on the R&B charts including the classic “Free James Brown” (that’s how old I am!) … but I also didn’t care for the movie at all even when compared to Les Miserables (French film) and last year’s The Hate U Give, both which handled #BlackLivesMatter in a way that didn’t feel like it was hitting the viewer over the head with a hammer yet still getting the point across. Thanks for your comment!

  3. The real news is that 8 films in the Top Ten are not franchise/IP movies.

    Original movies making money! What a concept! (Knives Out reportedly made back its cost in 3 days. The rest is profit.)

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