By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES, Dec 1, (Variety.com) - Disney's "Frozen 2" stuffed the box office competition during Thanksgiving, generating $85.2 million over the weekend and a record-setting $123.7 million over the five-day holiday frame.
The animated adventure soared past the previous Thanksgiving benchmark held by 2013's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and its $109 million bounty between the Wednesday and Sunday holiday frame. Like, "Frozen 2," the "Hunger Games" sequel opened a week ahead of Thanksgiving.
After two weekends in theaters, "Frozen 2" is nearing the $300 million mark in North America with ticket sales currently at a massive $287 million. "Frozen 2" made $130 million in its inaugural outing, cementing a new high-water mark for Disney Animation.
Though "Frozen 2" earned a turkey's share of grosses, two new movies successfully served as counter-programming against Disney's all-audience tentpole and carved out solid box office receipts.
Propelled by critical raves and audience adoration to match, Lionsgate's "Knives Out," a murder mystery directed by Rian Johnson, launched ahead of expectations, securing second place on domestic charts with $27 million over the weekend and $41.7 million between Wednesday and Sunday. Heading into the weekend, the whodunit starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Evans was projected to earn $20 million to $25 million in its first five days of release. The movie cost $40 million and looks to be a triumph for original content at multiplexes.
Fellow new release, Universal and Makeready's "Queen and Slim," looks to be another win in favor of original fare. The romantic drama starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith opened at No. 5, collecting $11.7 million over the weekend and $15.8 million over the five-day holiday period. Directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, "Queen and Slim" carries a roughly $20 million price tag. Over 50% of opening weekend crowds were African America, while 24% were Caucasian, 15% were Hispanic and 3% were Asian. More than 60% of ticket buyers were over the age of 25.
Holdovers including Disney-Fox's "Ford v Ferrari" and Sony's "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." Matt Damon and Christian Bale's sports drama, now in its third outing, earned $13 million over the weekend and $19 million during the five-days, propelling its domestic tally to $81 million. Tom Hanks' feel-good film about Mister Rogers made $12 million over the traditional weekend and $17.6 million over the holidays. After two weeks of release, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" has generated $34 million.
While this Thanksgiving didn't best last year's $315 million benchmark, the holiday is already helping offset what has otherwise been a bleak November at the box office. Heading into the long weekend, overall ticket sales were behind over 7%, according to Comscore. Now, box office receipts are down by 5.6%.