Winter Storm Ezekiel has been moving across the country over the last week, dropping tons of snow across the United States, but it hasn’t stopped moviegoers from attending the winter-themed Frozen 2, which has stormed the box office for the second weekend in a row. In fact, with around $124 million over the five-day weekend, Frozen 2 has amassed the biggest haul in Thanksgiving weekend history, besting the $109 million earned by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire back in 2013 (the original Frozen is now third on that list with $93 million). With the additional $127 million, Frozen 2 has already earned $287 million at the box office in only ten days. The film is on track now for a $450 million domestic haul, while it is sure to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide, after crossing the $730 million mark in only 10 days.
The bigger news this weekend, however, may have been the successful debut of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, which earned around $41.7 million over the 5-day period, or basically what it cost to make. It also earned $28.3 million overseas for a total of $70 million worldwide. It’s another big hit for movies geared toward adults (like Ford vs. Ferrari a couple of weeks ago) that illustrates once again that good original movies with great talent can still sell tickets in a box-office environment dominated by Disney, sequels, and reboots. Johnson’s whodunnit crushed it with critics (96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and earned a solid A- Cinemascore. Johnson may be on his way to establishing himself as another Christopher Nolan: A director who gained massive recognition with a hugely popular franchise (Star Wars) and parlays that into success with original properties like Knives Out (or Looper and Brothers Bloom before ).
Speaking of Ford v. Ferrari, the Matt Damon and Christian Bale film is still doing very well at the box office in its third week. It scored $20 million over the five-day window and has now earned $81 million at the box office, as it continues to please crowds of Dads. It narrowly beat out Tom Hanks’ crowd pleaser A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which earned $18.3 million over five days. In fact, with $12.9 million over the three-day frame, it was down only 2 percent from its debut weekend. It has scored $35 million so far on a $25 million budget.
Thanks to apparently huge tickets sales in NYC and Atlanta, Queen and Slim took the five spot this weekend, earning $15.8 million over five days. The Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith film — written by Lena Waithe and James Frey — also benefited from strong reviews (84 percent on RT) and a strong A- Cinemascore, and should continue to perform well in the coming weeks.
21 Bridges leads bottom five at the Thanksgiving box office with around $7.92 million lifting the film’s cumulative gross to $20 million and $27 million worldwide. Midway continues to eke out a few million, adding $6 million to bring its total to $50 million. It’s earned around $100 million worldwide now, which was the budget for the film. Also with around $6 million, Playing With Fire has very quietly now amassed almost $40 million.
Joker, meanwhile, will not go away. It’s the only film in the top ten that’s stuck around for more than four weeks, as it earned $2.8 million in its ninth week at the box office to bring its total to $330 million. It’s earned $1.048 billion worldwide. Last Christmas also let out one last gasp, earning $2.8 million to bring its total to $31.6 million. With around $60 million worldwide, the film should eke into the black on a $25 million budget.
The weekend after Thanksgiving is typically fairly quiet at the box office, as Thanksgiving leftovers tend to consolidate their winnings. This year isn’t any different, as only one wide release — Playmobil: The Movie — plans to take on Frozen 2 and Knives Out. I would not expect it to unseat either of them from their positions. A few movie smaller films will also open in limited releases, including Amazon’s The Aeronauts and Magnolia’s Little Joe.