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Box office update: 'Catching Fire' tops Friday with $7.7 million, but 'Frozen' may take the weekend

Even on a relatively quiet day at the box office, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still red-hot. After earning a record-breaking gross over the Thanksgiving frame, the sequel topped the chart yesterday, its third Friday, with $7.7 million. That sets the blockbuster up for a $27 million gross and about $337 million total through Sunday.

In second place, Disney’s animated musical Frozen grossed $6.8 million on its second Friday in wide release. While that number is slightly below expectations (I predicted a $34 million gross this weekend), family-friendly matinee showtimes on Saturday and Sunday should help Frozen hold up quite nicely over the rest of the frame. The film appears headed for a $28-29 million gross, which would let it surpass Catching Fire for the number one spot on the chart. Find out tomorrow where it lands. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Frozen' ready to cool down 'Catching Fire'

After a record-breaking Thanksgiving frame, the box office heads into the proverbial turkey-coma that is the first week of December. Only one new release, Out of the Furnace, is hitting theaters, leaving Frozen and Catching Fire to duke it out for the top spot. Which will win? Here’s how the chart may look this weekend:

1. Frozen – $34 million
Family films thrive over the Thanksgiving holiday — so much so that they’re destined to plummet in the following frame. Still, Frozen‘s glowing reception and complete lack of competition will help it maintain success for quite a while. If it falls 50 percent this weekend, it’s looking at a $34 million gross and a $136 million total. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Catching Fire' surges to $31.3 million on Friday, 'Frozen' may score $100 million five-day debut

As previously reported, both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen are headed to record-breaking Thanksgiving weekends at the box office. But Black Friday numbers suggest that both films may be even bigger than originally thought — and both could pull in more than $100 million over the five-day frame!

Catching Fire topped the chart on Friday with a sizzling $31.3 million, which sent it right past the $250 million mark on its eighth day of release. The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are the only two films to ever reach $250 million faster. Catching Fire is currently on pace for a Friday-to-Sunday weekend in the $75-80 million range, which would trail only The Avengers as the best second weekend of all time. Factoring in the combined $35 million that Catching Fire earned on Wednesday and Thursday, the film may pull in $110-120 million over five days, giving it a total of $290-300 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' set to smash Thanksgiving records

It turns out moviegoers want fire and ice this Thanksgiving.

Both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney’s Frozen are thriving at the box office, so much so that the films are on track to break records and achieve the two best Thanksgiving five-day weekends of all time.

Catching Fire earned $20.7 million on Wednesday and $14.9 million on Thursday. That $35.6 million haul puts the film on track for a five-day weekend of about $100-105 million, which will handily beat Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone $82.4 million gross over the same period of time in 2001. Remarkably, Catching Fire will have earned about $290 million after just 10 days of release, and if it keeps up this pace, it will easily outdo the original Hunger Games‘ $408 million domestic total.

Frozen is more than holding its own against the behemoth blockbuster. Disney’s animated musical pulled in $26.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday ($15.2 million, then $11.1 million), a substantially bigger start than Tangled, which grossed $19.9 million in its first two days in 2010. That film wound up earning $48.8 million over the following Friday-to-Sunday period (2.45 times its Wednesday/Thursday gross), and if we apply the same metric to Frozen, it’s set to gross $64 million over the traditional weekend frame for a stunning $90 million five-day start.

Much less fortunate were the weekend’s two other newcomers, Homefront and Black Nativity, both of which got the cold shoulder from ticket buyers. The Jason Statham vehicle Homefront grossed $2.8 million over its first two days and may only find about $9.5 million in its first five. Black Nativity fared even worse, with $1.1 million combined on Wednesday and Thursday, which may result in a $3.8 million five-day start. Given the talent involved — Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige — and the proximity to Christmas, that’s a major disappointment.

The Book Thief didn’t draw huge crowds in its expansion into 1,234 theaters. The film pulled in $1.6 million on Wednesday and Thursday and looks to gross about $5.5 million through Sunday, which will give it a $6.9 million total. Philomena isn’t taking off, either. Judi Dench’s Oscar contender has grossed just under $1 million from 753 theaters in two days. No numbers for Spike Lee’s Oldboy have come in just yet.

Check back tomorrow for another box office update — and enjoy those Thanksgiving leftovers!

Box office preview: 'Frozen' ready to storm the chart, but it won't beat 'Catching Fire'

Fire or ice? That’s the question that millions of moviegoers will answer this weekend at the box office as Disney’s animated musical Frozen goes head-to-head with record-breaking behemoth The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Will the family film be able to snuff out the blockbuster? Probably not. But it’s still set to do major business over the Wednesday-to-Sunday period. Here’s how things may shake out over the five-day frame:

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $91 million
Lionsgate’s $130 million sequel has lit up the box office since its arrival last Friday, and it’s poised to blitz past the $200 million mark on Wednesday, its sixth day of release. The film may add about $30 million to its total over Wednesday and Thursday, then another $61 million or so (a drop of about 60 percent) over the weekend. That would give it $91 million more and push its gross to about $278 million after only 10 days.
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Box office report: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' breaks November record with $161.1 million debut

The girl on fire is still burning bright! Lionsgate’s hotly anticipated sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trounced the competition over its first weekend at the box office, pulling in an estimated $161.1 million. That gross handily beats the $152.5 million opening of The Hunger Games, which opened in March 2012, and it stands as the best November debut of all time ahead of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which bowed with $142.9 million in 2009.

Only three films have ever opened higher than Catching Fire: The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million). Many prognosticators (this one included) thought Catching Fire might surpass Iron Man 3‘s opening earlier this year, but the superhero sequel had the notable advantage of 3-D ticket sales, and Catching Fire fell short. Still, if estimates hold up when final grosses are released tomorrow, Catching Fire will have bested The Dark Knight Rises as the highest 2-D opener of all time. Rises pulled in $160.9 million during its opening weekend in 2012. Even without 3-D appeal, Catching Fire played very well on IMAX screens. The large-screen format accounted for $12.6 million of its domestic debut. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Catching Fire' earns $70.5 million on Friday, may open lower than first 'Hunger Games'

UPDATE: Catching Fire opened to $161.1 million, the best November of all time.

On its first Friday in theaters, Lionsgate’s hotly anticipated sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire pulled in $70.5 million, a gross that includes $25.3 million that the film earned during Thursday night engagements beginning at 8 p.m.

Catching Fire was projected to open substantially higher than the original Hunger Games, which debuted with $152.5 million in March 2012, but it actually appears headed for a finish in the exact same range, perhaps earning around $150 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Though Catching Fire will likely score the best November opening of all time, ahead of The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s $142.9 million bow, it will need great holds on Saturday and Sunday to take down Iron Man 3‘s $174.1 million opening (which benefitted from a boost from 3-D ticket sales) as the best of 2013, though it’s still a possibility.
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Box office preview: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' targeting the best debut of 2013

Katniss has her bow and arrow aimed squarely at the top of the box office, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will easily open at No. 1. But will Catching Fire break The Dark Knight Rises‘ $160.9 million record as the best 2-D opening of all time? And will it surpass Iron Man 3‘s $174 million opening take as the best of 2013? Well, let’s parse this out.

The original Hunger Games opened to a jaw-dropping $152.5 million in March 2012, a figure that Catching Fire should surpass with ease. Even if it somehow doesn’t, the sequel, which cost Lionsgate about $130 million, would be in fine shape. Overseas revenues are expected to be much more robust than they were for the first film, which took in $691.2 million worldwide.

Domestically, The Hunger Games grossed $408 million total, and in the past year and a half, passion for the dystopian series — and its Oscar-winning star Jennifer Lawrence — has only swelled. Catching Fire is thus tracking substantially better than its predecessor, and it should earn at least $160 million this weekend. It should be noted that the original Hunger Games is by far the most popular book in the trilogy, and some viewers may have been drawn to the first film based on their affection for that book alone. However, the vast majority of viewers left the film with a positive reaction, and strong reviews for Catching Fire mean that much of the biggest target demo (women, who made up 61 percent of The Hunger Games‘ audience) will be coming back for more. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Thor' stays on top with $38.5 million, but 'Best Man Holiday' brings the thunder

For the second weekend in a row, Marvel’s $170 million sequel Thor: The Dark World topped the domestic box office chart. The Chris Hemsworth vehicle fell 55 percent to $38.5 million, giving the comic book adaptation $147 million total so far. The Dark World is still on track to easily surpass the original Thor‘s $181 million domestic total in 2011, and it should finish above $200 million.

Internationally, the sequel has already earned more than its predecessor. The Dark World has grossed $332.8 million internationally and $479.8 million worldwide, far more than Thor’s $268 million and $449 million respective finishes. At this point, The Dark World seems headed for a finish above $700 million worldwide.

Thor wasn’t the only success story this weekend. The Best Man Holiday unwrapped an outstanding $30.5 million on opening weekend from 2,024 theaters, yielding an excellent $15,115 venue average — the best in the top-10. The film, which stars Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, and Regina Hall (among others), opened with $10.7 million on Friday, and then ticked up 15 percent on Saturday to $12 million — a rare boost on a film’s opening weekend that signifies great word-of-mouth. Audiences, which Universal reports were 75 percent female and 87 percent African-American, issued the film a rare “A+” CinemaScore grade. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Best Man Holiday' mightier than 'Thor' on Friday with $10.7 million, A+ CinemaScore

Talk about stealing someone’s thunder! Universal’s $17 million comedy The Best Man Holiday hammered Thor: The Dark World on its first day at the box office. Holiday, which stars Taye Diggs and Terrence Howard, grossed $10.7 million on Friday (its 1999 predecessor, The Best Man, earned $9 million in its entire opening weekend), which puts it on pace for a weekend right around $30 million. Moreover, the film garnered a rare “A+” CinemaScore grade from polled audiences, which suggests it may have major staying power in the days and weeks to come. READ FULL STORY

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