6th Update Sunday AM: And so Thanksgiving 2019 ends with Disney’s Frozen 2 collecting a 5-day estimate of $126.3M, the most ever for any film that has played the holiday –opener or holdover– besting Lionsgate’s 2013 Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($109.9M). Plus, it was a fantastic win for auteur-driven original IP from Lionsgate/Media Rights Capital’s Rian Johnson whodunit Knives Out, which is flying well ahead of its high $20Ms-$30M 5-day forecasts, with an estimated $41.7M (a number Lionsgate is also reporting). Disney is calling its 5-day at $123.7M for a10-day take of $287.6M, which is ahead of the $284M we were spotting last week.
Despite the record amount of bucks made by Frozen 2, and the more-than-solid turnout by Knives Out, the Thanksgiving 5-day stretch, per Comscore, grossed an estimated $263.65M, -16% from last year’s holiday record of $315.4M. What’s the difference? There was more older-skewing original adult product on the marquee this year with Knives Out, Ford v. Ferrari, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Queen & Slim, while last year boasted more family-centric and franchise fare, which held extremely well over the 5-day stretch, i.e. Creed 2 ($56M), Fantastic Beasts 2 ($42.3M), The Grinch ($42M), and Bohemian Rhapsody (a retro pop culture event that played to all ages with a 5-day of $19.5M).
On the upside, Frozen 2 and Thanksgiving movie-going finally pushed 2019 past the $10 billion mark YTD. The gap between 2019 and 2018 was -9% heading into the weekend, and coming out we’re only trailing last year’s B.O. by only 5.6%. Current YTD B.O. for Jan. 1-Dec. 1 is $10.2B to last year’s $10.8B over the same period. Also, this YTD, we’re 4.4% ahead of 2017. Reminder that 2018 hit the high water mark for U.S./Canada B.O. with $11.9B. Prior to that, 2016 is the second-highest at the domestic B.O., with $11.38B. 2017 rang up $11.1B, and 2015 did $11.13B.
When it comes to sequels to animated movies, here’s the smart thing about Disney: They don’t just pump them out in excess over a short period of time, eroding ticket sales for each installment like some other studios do. Rather, they sit and wait, and wait to develop the best follow-ups possible. Disney could have pumped out a Frozen 2 a couple of years after the 2013 version, and by this time have already delivered a Frozen 3. But they didn’t get antsy or desperate for a cash grab. What Disney has that most studios don’t is the benefit that their animated hits in the after-market will age like fine wine, cultivating new generations of fans. Hence, 6, 9, 13 or 14 years down the road. When it comes time to launch a sequel, not only does a sequel appeal to everyone from 2-80 years old, but it’s a gargantuan box office win. While some rival studios may build a feature toon franchise within the same amount of years between Frozen and Frozen 2, they run the risk of tapping it out faster. Frozen 2 will own the box office for another 12 days, until Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level arrives.
Regarding the success of Knives Out, Johnson and his T-Street partner Ram Bergman beamed, “We are super excited that people came out in full force to experience Knives Out. We are thankful to our partners at MRC and Lionsgate and everyone who showed up to see the movie.”
Universal/Makeready/Bron’s Queen & Slim is filing a $11.7M 3-day and $15.8M 5-day after a $4.59M Saturday. Fox/New Regency’s Widows was always a comparison here and that movie opened to $12.3M at 2,803 theaters a year ago. It should be noted that Q&S did a potent amount of business on fewer screens, a count of 1,690 and a $9.3K 5-day screen average. Widows did $4.4K screen average over its 3-day opening. Widows ended its run at $42.4M off a B CinemaScore and the great exits of A- CinemaScore and 5 stars on PostTrak here for Q&S have many believing that this racial injustice drama can get to $50M stateside. The pic, largely financed by Makeready and Bron, cost $17M before P&A. Great over-indexing in NY, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Philly and DC here. Uni chose the Thanksgiving frame to launch this movie, given the awards potential here. eOne handled the pic in Canada.
“Universal believes in championing bold filmmakers with a unique voice. With Queen & Slim, Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe together deliver an emotionally powerful film, bringing a level of authenticity to their storytelling that you don’t often see. There’s no doubt this film will leave a lasting impression on audiences” said Universal domestic distribution boss Jim Orr.
Below are studio-reported estimates. The box office will go to sleep entirely next weekend with only one wide entry, STX’s Playmobil, targeted at the hand-holders who’ve already seen Frozen 2.
Weekend B.O. For Nov. 27-Dec. 1
5th Update Saturday AM: While Black Friday tickets sales surged 101% over Thanksgiving, one of the most lucrative movie going days of the year is down 15% from a year ago with $71.1M. Last year repped the second-best Black Friday ever, with $83.3M (behind 2013’s $85M). Standing resilient and the big driver of holiday business is Disney’s Frozen 2, which, after making $34.1M yesterday, is looking at a 3-day of $86.7M, 5-day of $126.3M (still a Thanksgiving 5-day record ahead of Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and running total by end of tomorrow of $290.1M. Domestic endgame for Anna and Elsa’s second go-round is projected to be $450M, which is $49.3M ahead of the 2013 original. And in no way a shocker, Adobe Analytics reports that Frozen 2 was one of the biggest toys to fly off shelves yesterday, along with LOL doll.
Revised Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits show 46% general audiences and 54% families for Frozen 2, with 4 1/2 stars from general audiences and parents and 4 stars from kids under 12, still driven by girls at 68%. Among all age groups, women under 25 are leading at 39%, followed by women over 25 at 30%, men over 25 at 16%, and men under 25 at 15%. Frozen 2‘s second Saturday is expected to come in around $33.2M today, -2% from yesterday. We’ll just see about that. If it’s higher, all weekend estimates jump up again.
Lionsgate/Media Rights Capital’s Knives Out in second made $10.66M yesterday, on its way to $27.7M for the weekend and $42.4M five-day. Sources predict it’s a cinch for this whodunit to hit $100M by the end of its stateside run. The film was produced by director Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman’s T-Street. Versus Kenneth Branagh’s all-star Murder on the Orient Express, which was launched in early November 2017 around Veterans Day, Knives Out 5-day is pacing 24% ahead of that movie, which ended its US/Canada run at $102.8M. In addition to having a respected auteur who can deliver business, Knives Out, like Orient Express, benefits from its all-star cast that appeals to varying demos.
We often overwrite that stars don’t drive the box office, only IP does. However, stars do still count when packaged appropriately at the box office. We see that here with 007’s Daniel Craig, Avengers and Captain America‘s Chris Evans, Halloween and Scream Queens Jamie Lee Curtis, and more. We also saw that earlier this fall with the multi-appealing Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B, Riverdale‘s Lili Reinhart, and Crazy Rich Asians’ Contance Wu. And we see what the devastating effect is on box office when you stack a semi-popular IP with too many fresh faces + an out of the box star in Sony’s Charlie’s Angels, which may not see a final domestic B.O. of $25M (ugh!).
Knives Out has accumulated a social media universe that’s around 114M, per RelishMix, made up of 10.9M Facebook fans, 3.4M Facebook video views, 5.4M Twitter followers, 32.3M YouTube views and 5.4M Instagram followers. That’s ahead of the typical drama/thriller, which has an SMU of 82.8M. Organic views for top clips are averaging 34.9K, which is far ahead of the usual 22K for average daily YouTube views. Some campy stuff that worked in the spirit of the pic’s comedic vein is a Martha Stewart Facebook parody spot feature Curtis, clocking over 5.9M views, 842K in the last week:
“The curiosity around Knives Out for the audience is, which is it – more serious, or comedic? And that’s part of the fun. The movie has achieved social engagement leaning heavily positive based on its campaign’s core messaging, ‘When was the last time you had fun at the movies?’ The cast really helped this mystery film gain traction and build the fun toward opening weekend. For example, Evans drove plenty of moviegoers to see the trailers and other fun clips for Knives, which speaks to the after-effect of the Avengers series. Craig and Curtis, the latter hot off of Halloween last year, were instrumental in this film’s reach and engagement achievements, as convo confirms. There is also the usual references to the songs, the moments, and the hunt for those ‘Easter eggs,’ particularly in the fun materials put out by a thriller/mystery like Knives,” reports RelishMix.
While Evans is the social media leader for the pic with close to 21M followers, others include Katherine Langford with 14.6M on Instagram, and even Johnson with over 1M between Twitter and Instagram. The latter has been posting behind-the- scenes materials from the set and provided the organic push toward last Friday and Saturday’s sneak previews (which made over $2M). West coast biz for Knives Out is still strong.
Fox/Disney’s Ford v. Ferrari after a $5.3M Friday is expected to outpace Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for the holiday frame, $13.9M to $12.9M for the 3-day and $19.8M to $18.3M for the 5-day in spots 3 and 4.
Universal/Makeready/Bron’s Queen & Slim grossed $4.3M yesterday on its way to $10.8M 3-day and a $14.9M 5-day. This drama’s best business is doing very well on the East Coast, along with the South. Updated: Eight of the top ten runs came out of NYC or Atlanta. Universal has been able to distinguish this film in the marketplace in its trailers from rival African American feature 21 Bridges. The studio dropped an intriguing trailer at the end of July, which clocked 5M views on YouTube, giving assumption that we’d see this intriguing Lena Waithe- scripted pic in the fall film festival troika.
But the major fests overlooked it, with the exception of AFI, which booked the pic as its opening night film (AFI is director Melina Matsoukas’ alma mater). A late start in regards to buzz for what is a critically acclaimed, audience appealing movie that could have been an autumn lightning rod out of the gate. That said, sources believe the pic’s great word-of-mouth can carry this pic to a $50M domestic final.
RelishMix saw mixed convo toward the pic heading into the weekend, which might explain pic’s OK start (we should also note that the pic is only at 1,690 locations), and that a movie with its topic of injustice is a little heavy around Thanksgiving. Also, “The cast of Queen & Slim is moderate in its reach and activation for the film. Daniel Kaluuya appeared on Steven Colbert, and writer Waithe has been interviewed on a myriad of shows and radio programs recently. But, Kaluuya’s Instagram is set to private, and co-star Jodie Turner-Smith has a smaller social footprint than most stars,” observes RelishMix.
Weekend estimates based on studio sources as of this morning:
Box Office For Nov. 29-Dec. 1
4th Update Black Friday: Even with Disney’s Frozen 2 on the marquee and poised to do a record amount of business for the 5-day holiday with now $129.7M, beating Hunger Games: Catching Fire Thanksgiving run record of $109.9M, tickets sales for all titles on Thanksgiving were down an estimated -16% with $35.3M from last year’s $41.96M, which was the second best Thanksgiving of all-time. Black Friday,which is a very big day for moviegoing, is also expected to be off from a year ago by -7% with an estimated $77.6M, from 2018’s BF of $83.3M. It’s funny, after this coming weekend and before Star Wars and Christmas, the box office ratchets down as many are distracted with holiday activities. But not today. They find time to shop and go to the movies. As a side note, Adoble Analytics says that $4.4 billion has already been spent in online shopping with $52B shelled out since Nov. 1. The org predicts $143.8B to be spent online by end of holiday season. The National Retail Federation projects a 4% uptick this year in holiday spending to about $730B.
Frozen 2′s Thanksgiving totaled $14.7M per Disney, which is the second best for any title on the holiday after Catching Fire‘s $14.9M. Note business yesterday didn’t fire up until the evening.
Lionsgate/MRC’s Knives Out is doing fantastic with a $6.2M Thursday, -26%, but expected to surge today with $11M-$12M. 5-day outlook is $44.3M, which exceed’s MRC’s previous original title Baby Driver‘s 5-day by 50%. Both pics have arguably similar production costs, Baby Driver with $34M and Knives Out for $40M. Another win for original pics after the launch of Fox/Disney’s Ford v. Ferrari, and Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood isn’t looking too shabby, at this minute poised to come in ahead of Ford v Ferrari for the 5-day. Knives out continues to draw males at 52% with 73% of the audience over 25 and 46% over 35 years old. Diversity demos were 63% Caucasian, 14% Hispanic, 13% Asian/Other, & 10% African American. The Johnson ensemble played best on the coasts, especially in the West but was solid throughout.
Universal/Makeready/Bron’s Queen & Slim which was made for $17M by Makeready and Bron before P&A, and reps a distribution deal for Uni, is seeing $15.2M by Sunday. Pic posted excellent exits with 5 stars on PostTrak and A- CinemaScore, but the movie’s ticket sales in regards to that are OK. Right now females at 58% are showing up, 63% under 35 and 61% between 18-35 years old. African Americans still lead sales at 59%, Caucasians at 23%, 9% Asian/Other, & 9% Hispanic. Queen & Slim played best on the East coast along with the South. Five of the top ten runs came out of the Atlanta market which is impressive I’m told.
Focus Features’ Dark Waters expanded from 4 theaters to 91 in its second week. The Todd Haynes directed drama made $130K on Wednesday, $93K on Thanksgiving and is seeing a $680K weekend (+563%), and $903K 5-day for a $1M+ take by EOD Sunday. NEON’s Parasite is expected to reach $18.5M by Sunday in its 8th week at 433 theaters. Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit is also set to reach the same amount by Sunday after 7 weeks with current theater count at 730.
Top 6 pics:
- Frozen 2 (Dis) Wed $23.78M/Thur $14.7M/ 3-day $90M (-31%), 5-day $129.7M, Cume $282.3M/Wk 2
- Knives Out (LG/MRC) Wed $8.46M (includes $3.7M previews/sneaks)/Thur $6.2M/ 3-day $29.6M, 5-day and cume: $44.3M/Wk 1
- Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Tri) Wed $2.38M/Thur $3.1M/3-day 15.5M (+17%%), 5-day $20.96M, cume $36.7M/Wk 2
- Ford v Ferrari (20th/Dis) Wed $2.9M/ Thur $2.8M/ 3-day $14.7M (-6%), 5-day $20.65M, Cume $81.2M/ Wk 3
- Queen & Slim (Uni/MakeReady/Bron) Wed $1.7M/Thur $2.37M/ 3-day $11.1M, 5-day and cume $15.2M/Wk 1
- 21 Bridges (STX) Wed $1M/Thur $1m/ 3-day $5.7m (-38%), 5-day $7.9M, Cume: $18.6M/Wk 2
3rd Update Thanksgiving AM: Disney’s Frozen 2 made $23.78M yesterday making it the best Wednesday before Thanksgiving, besting Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($20.8M), however, F2‘s Wednesday ranked second among all animated pics after the opening day of Universal/Illumination’s Despicable Me 2 ($35M) back in July 2013, and the second best for the month of November after Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Matrix Revolutions opening day ($24.3M) back in 2003. Also interesting to note that Frozen 2 is just $1.4M shy of what Avengers: Endgame made on its first Wednesday. Business happens tonight after everyone eats. Catching Fire still has the best Thanksgiving Day record with $14.95M per Comscore. Given Frozen 2‘s momentum in outstripping various daily B.O. records, no doubt it will score another high day today.
Last Thanksgiving all movies made $41.96M, the second best Turkey Day after 2009’s record of $42M per Comscore. We’ll see if Frozen 2 assists in breaking that record as well. Black Friday is a huge moviegoing day in sync with everyone’s Christmas shopping. Business can surge as much as 100% over Thanksgiving. Last year’s Black Friday made $83.3M, second behind 2013’s $85M record.
Knives Out and Queen & Slim both won CinemaScore Wednesday audiences over with an A-. PostTrak for Knives Out is now at 4 1/2 stars and a 67% definite recommend, with updated demos being Males over 25 (37%), women over 25 (36%), males under 25 (15%) and women under 25 (12%). Older females and younger male love it the most at 87%. Diversity breakdown is 62% Caucasian, 14% Hispanic, 10% African American, and 9% Asians.
Queen & Slim received a perfect score of 5 stars on PostTrak, with a big 79% definite recommend. Females over 25 led at 39%, then guys over 25 at 32%, females under 25 at 19% and males under 25 at 10%. Guys under 25 love it at 100% followed by older females at 96%. African Americans showed up at 59%, followed by 23% Caucasians, 9% Hispanic and 5% Asians.
Updated Wednesday B.O. and forecasts are as follows:
- Frozen 2 (Dis) Wed $23.78M, 3-day $100.3M (-23%), 5-day $142.2M, Cume $294.8M/Wk 2
- Knives Out (LG/MRC) Wed $8.46M (includes $3.7M previews/sneaks), 3-day $24.7M, 5-day and cume: $38.5M/Wk 1
- Ford v Ferrari (20th/Dis) Wed $2.9M, 3-day $15.2M (-3%), 5-day $21.1M, Cume $81M/ Wk 3
- Queen & Slim (Uni/MakeReady/Bron) Wed $1.7M, 3-day $11.2M, 5-day and cume $15.3M/Wk 1
- Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Tri) Wed $2.38M, 3-day 10.2M (-23%), 5-day $14.7M, cume $29.8M/Wk 2
- 21 Bridges (STX) Wed $1M, 3-day $5.9m (-36%), 5-day $8.1M, Cume: $18.4M/Wk 2
2nd Update Midday Wednesday: Another huge moviegoing day with Disney’s Frozen 2 eyeing $23.5M today, on its way to a $96.3M second weekend (-26%) and $135.4M 5-day. Pic’s 10-day running total will near $300M, just $1M shy by Sunday. Five-days are always hard for many to project, so we’ll put an asterisk on that. What’s for certain is that Elsa and Anna will defeat Katniss (aka Hunger Games: Catching Fire) for the Thanksgiving 5-day record for any holdover and opener, that 2013 sequel making $109.9M per Comscore. Disney reported a $20.79M Tuesday for Frozen 2, still a November record, and third best for an animated pic on a Tuesday after Incredibles 2 ($27M) and Finding Dory ($23.1M).
Lionsgate/MRC’s Knives Out is in 2nd seeing $8.2M for today including its $3.7M previews and sneaks, a $24.8M 3-day, and a current five-day of $35.4M.
Ford v Ferrari in weekend 3 places 3rd with $2.7M today, a $14.4M 3-day (-8%) and a 5-day of $20M and running total of $82M.
Fourth place goes to Sony/TriStar’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with $2.3M today, $11.85M second weekend (-10%), 5-day of $16.6M and running 10-day total of $33.6M.
Fifth spot belongs to Universal/Makeready/Bron’s Queen & Slim which is seeing $2M today sans previews, $12.1M 3-day, and $16.8M 5-day.
1st Update: Frozen 2 Notches Best Tuesday in November with $20M+, Domestic at $164M+, Knives Out Near $4M in Total Previews: In its fifth day of release, Disney’s Frozen 2 scored the best Tuesday ever in November with an estimated $21.1M. This is after landing November’s best Monday with $12.77M reported by Disney yesterday. On both days, Anna and Elsa beat Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire which held previous November highs for Monday ($12.3M) and Tuesday ($15.96M).
Among all animated movies, Frozen 2 looks like it’s the third best Tuesday behind Incredibles 2 ($27M) and Finding Dory ($23.1M). If Disney reports a lower figure than $20.57M, which is what Toy Story 4 made on its Tuesday, then Frozen 2 is the fourth best Tuesday for a feature toon. Running tally for Frozen 2 is at $164.1M. By the end of Thanksgiving rival distrib sources believe the Jennifer Lee-Chris Buck sequel will stand at $200M, with K-12 schools out today at 80%, colleges at 63% and everyone out on Thursday and Friday. Current second weekend forecast for Frozen 2 stands at $84M.
Lionsgate’s previews last night for Rian Johnson’s Media Rights Capital movie Knives Out grossed $1.66M off shows that started at 7PM, raising its total preview cash including weekend sneak money to $3.7M. Pic opens in 3,391 theaters today and expands to 3,461 by Friday. Pic has a 96% certified fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Lionsgate will add the $3.7M previews and sneaks into today’s opening total. In early Screen Engine/Comscore PostTrak exits last night, Knives Out received 4 stars with a 66% definite recommend. Leading demos were men over 25 (41%), females over 25 (36%), men under 25 (12%), and females under 25 (11%). Diversity demos were 61% Caucasian, Hispanic 12%, African Americans and Asians at 11%. Note these exits will fluctuate throughout the five day stretch. Knives Out cost $40M before digital print and ad spend, with Lionsgate and MRC sharing a 50/50 exposure. Johnson and Ram Bergman’s T-Street produced Knives Out.
Universal/Makeready/Bron’s Queen & Slim did not hold previews last night, rather opens today.
20th Century Fox/Disney’s Ford v Ferrari among regular pics in release made $2.5M yesterday, +63% over Monday for a running total in week 2 of $62M. Sony/TriStar’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood made $2.3M yesterday, +55% from Monday for a five-day of $17M. STX’s 21 Bridges did $1.4M, +60% for a five-day of $11.5M. Paramount/Walden Media’s Playing With Fire was 5th with an estimated $1M, +66% for a running total in week 3 of $33.1M. The John Cena comedy is pacing 11% behind the Melrose Lot’s Instant Family from last November in its first 12 days, that Mark Wahlberg-Rose Byrne movie finaling at $67.3M.