Weekend Forecast (Updated): Frozen II Could Claim Thanksgiving Record as Knives Out Looks to Carve Up Sleeper Hit Debut

Wednesday Update: Lionsgate reports that Knives Out earned $1.66 million from Tuesday night previews in an estimated 2,500 locations. Adding in the updated $2.05 million from November 22 and 23 sneak previews last weekend, the film has earned $3.71 million domestically to-date — all of which will be rolled into Wednesday’s full opening day figure.

For comparison purposes, Baby Driver earned $2.1 million from Tuesday night previews in summer 2017 during part of its five-day holiday opening.

Check out our complete weekend forecast below, and watch for updates throughout the week.

Tuesday Report: One of the most lucrative moviegoing corridors of the year is nigh as Thanksgiving arrives in the States. Two films will debut the day before Thursday’s holiday, but it will be Disney’s reigning animated blockbuster — Frozen II –that will win the weekend overall.

Fresh off a $130.3 million domestic weekend debut, the best ever for an animated release in November, Frozen II remains positioned as the top family choice during the long holiday weekend. Parents and women both under and over 25, in particular, should help the pic achieve strong retention thanks to positive word of mouth and expected back-loading as parents plan their trip to theaters around travelling and Black Friday shopping.

The current record for Thanksgiving weekend belongs to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which posted a $74.2 million three-day in its second frame exactly six years ago. That represented a 53 percent drop from its November-record $158.1 million debut the weekend prior, but one can safely expect Frozen II to generate a softer decline in its second weekend thanks to the aforementioned family appeal.

For reference, the original Frozen holds the second best Turkey Day weekend take with $67.4 million three-day (also six years ago) in its wide release debut.

Joining the mix this weekend is writer/director Rian Johnson’s star-studded ensemble Knives Out, an adult-leaning whodunit that has been excellently marketed by Lionsgate in recent weeks, leading to an impressive social media and tracking footprint for a mid-range budgeted film. We think the film could be poised to break out well beyond even our own optimistic forecasts, though this will be a largely word-of-mouth-driven release positioned to draw significant walk-up business this weekend and in the weeks ahead.

Knives Out earned a reported $2.03 million from last weekend’s sneak previews on Friday and Saturday, which the studio has confirmed will be rolled into the reported earnings for Tuesday night’s official preview grosses as part of the opening day figure.

Meanwhile, Queen & Slim courts the arthouse crowds this weekend with a wide release from distributor Universal. Pre-release models have compared similarly to titles like If Beale Street Could Talk, The Hate U Give, and The Goldfinch — though there is some upside to keep in mind given the skewed holiday opening comparison.

Among holdovers, look for family-driven titles and well-received pics like Ford v Ferrari and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to remain key components of an overall strong weekend.

Key Weekend Ranges

  • Frozen II ($75 – 95 million 3-day)
  • Knives Out ($18 – 25 million 3-day)
  • Queen & Slim ($4 – 9 million 3-day)

Top 10 v. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films, during the three-day portion, will increase approximately 50 to 55 percent from the same weekend last year, which did not have the benefit of Thanksgiving attendance. That weekend was led by Ralph Breaks the Internet and various holdovers with an overall $106.2 million top ten take.

For a somewhat more relevant comparison, Thanksgiving weekend last year generated $203.8 million during the three-day portion — although with the aid of two big openers in Ralph and Creed II. We expect this Thanksgiving weekend to miss that mark by approximately 17 to 22 percent.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, December 1 % Change from Last Wknd
Frozen II Disney $85,000,000 $270,400,000 -35%
Knives Out Lionsgate $20,300,000 $30,000,000 NEW
Ford v Ferrari Fox $15,000,000 $81,800,000 -5%
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony / Columbia $11,500,000 $32,600,000 -13%
21 Bridges STX $7,300,000 $21,100,000 -21%
Queen & Slim Universal $7,100,000 $9,900,000 NEW
Playing with Fire Paramount $4,300,000 $38,400,000 -5%
Midway Lionsgate $3,600,000 $48,800,000 -22%
The Good Liar Warner Bros. $3,300,000 $17,200,000 -3%
Last Christmas Universal $3,200,000 $32,900,000 3%

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday

The chart above excludes releases and potential expansions from limited and platform films

Contact us for information about subscribing to Boxoffice’s suite of forecasting and data services