Disney certainly seems to be faring better than Pixar these days, gradually improving their craft and storytelling as their out-of-house bracket has been unceremoniously slacking. Frozen may not have matched Monsters University‘s $82.4 million, but it scored Disney their biggest opening to date while building more enthusiasm for their brand than they’ve had since… the 90s? It certainly feels that long since we’ve gotten something of equal or greater quality or impact. That enthusiasm may well push the film to Disney’s first official Animated Feature Oscar win, and the wintry setting and heartrending familial quality makes its box office longevity well assured.
Last week I posed the question of whether or not The Hunger Games would fall prey to the waning spirits of Thanksgiving, as Twilight and Harry Potter installment have in past years. Catching Fire showed no such signs of deterioration in its 2nd frame, if anything even improving upon the ground left by its predecessor. The film seems well set to collapse Iron Man 3‘s hold as highest grossing film of 2013, likely shooting towards $450 million by the end of its run. Mind you, the next two Hunger Games installments are already well bought and paid for, but we’re definitely seeing some longevity in the fan fervor fueling it.
Well, that certainly must sour Spike Lee’s recent enthusiasms. A sudden gear-change to mainstream action gone awry in perverse, gratuitous insanity, it’s hard not to look at the Oldboy remake as an ill-advised career decision for all involved, certainly now that the film’s panned out with neither audiences nor critics. If it had only stuck to a wide-release, it could’ve joined the coveted F-CinemaScore club, but as it stands at just over 500 theaters and only $850,000 to show for it, perhaps FilmDistrict saw the signs and braced for impact.
I suppose the target demographic was too busy with The Best Man Holiday to take interest, though that shouldn’t have hurt this musical quite as much as it did. Do we blame it on unconvincing marketing? Shouldn’t they have played up the star value of Forrest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson more? Okay, this film had no discernible lightning rod to pull in viewers, and any successful film should have at least one. It’s still not nice to see any musical taper away, even as Frozen is doing so well on that basis.
I think they played up the wrong star on this one. Statham’s solo opening have often averaged below $10 million on their openings. James Franco on the other hand… well, his indie efforts do about as well as can be expected, but blockbuster output like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oz the Great and Powerful and This Is The End ought to boost his appeal. He rarely boasts the villain suit, so would that have upped the charisma of this project?
Box Office Top 10: November 29 -December 1, 2013
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2nd Weekend: $74.5 million; TOTAL: $296.6 million)
2. Frozen (1st Weekend: $66.7 million; TOTAL: $93.4 million)
3. Thor: The Dark World (4th Weekend: $11.1 million; TOTAL: $186.7 million)
4. The Best Man’s Holiday (3rd Weekend: $8.5 million; TOTAL: $63.4 million)
5. Homefront (1st Weekend: $7 million; TOTAL: $9.8 million)
6. Delivery Man (2nd Weekend: $6.9 million; TOTAL: $19.4 million)
7. The Book Thief (4th Weekend: $4.9 million; TOTAL: $7.9 million)
8. Black Nativity (1st Weekend: $3.9 million; TOTAL: $5 million)
9. Philomena (2nd Weekend: $3.8 million; TOTAL: $4.8 million)
10. Gravity (9th Weekend: $2.6 million; TOTAL: $249.8 million)
Limited Release Top 10
1. Nebraska (3rd Weekend: $728,000; TOTAL: $1.5 million)
2. All Is Lost (7th Weekend: $197,000; TOTAL: $5.3 million)
3. The Great Beauty (2nd Weekend: $139,000; TOTAL: $0.3 million)
4. Blue Is the Warmest Color (6th Weekend: $128,000; TOTAL: $1.6 million)
5. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (1st Weekend: $100,300)
6. Kill Your Darlings (7th Weekend: $72,300; TOTAL: $0.8 million)
7. The Armstrong Lie (4th Weekend: $30,600; TOTAL: $0.2 million)
8. Blue Jasmine (19th Weekend: $27,500; TOTAL: $32.8 million)
9. The Punk Singer (1st Weekend: $24,000)
10. Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? (2nd Weekend: $19,800; TOTAL: $0.05 million)
*Title changed to “losses”, because losers is too negative. Oldboy has enough to worry about.