‘Frozen 2’ wins Thanksgiving box office, but ‘Knives Out,’ ‘Queen & Slim’ open strong

Knives Out
Katherine Langford, left, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome and Jaeden Martell in “Knives Out.”
(Claire Folger/Lionsgate)

Disney’s “Frozen 2" dominated the box office once again in its second weekend, adding $123.7 million through the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, including $85.3 million Friday through Sunday (a small 35% drop), for a cumulative total of $287.6 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

“This was the Thanksgiving box office bounty the industry was hoping for, and while not a record-breaker [overall], the holiday frame was strong enough to knock the YTD deficit down by 1.3% and get the momentum rolling,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore.

“Frozen 2" topped previous Thanksgiving weekend record-holder “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which earned about $110 million in 2013. “Frozen 2" crossed the domestic $200-million mark in near-record time and currently stands at $738.6 million in global ticket sales.


In second place, Lionsgate and MRC’s “Knives Out” opened Wednesday well ahead of expectations with a five-day debut of $41.7 million, including $27 million Friday through Sunday. It earned $28.3 million internationally for a global cumulative total of $70 million.

”Murder mysteries have always been enormously popular, but cinematically they had become fairly predictable and a little less interesting,” said Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. Director Rian Johnson “and our producing partners at MRC and T-Street did an extraordinary job of rekindling the genre and exciting moviegoers into action with an exceptionally entertaining film that delivered … fresh characters and a plot that has unpredictable twists and turns. We are off to a fantastic start and expect a very strong holiday multiple given the word of mouth on the movie.”

Written and directed by Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”), the film is a comedic take on the murder mystery genre starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Katherine Langford, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Jaeden Martell and Don Johnson as members of a wealthy family whose patriarch (played by Christopher Plummer) dies unexpectedly. Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas also star.

It was well-received with an A- CinemaScore and a 96% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

At No. 3, Fox’s “Ford v Ferrari” added a five-day haul of $19 million, with $13.2 million in its third weekend for a cumulative total of $81 million. Globally, the film has earned $143.3 million.

In fourth place, Sony’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” added $17.3 million over the five days, including $11.8 million in its second weekend (a tiny 11% drop) for a domestic cumulative total of $34.3 million.

Rounding out the top five, Universal and Makeready’s “Queen & Slim” opened Wednesday to $15.8 million through five days, including $11.7 million over the weekend.

Directed by Melina Matsoukas (“Insecure,” Beyoncé's “Formation” video) from a script by Lena Waithe, the film stars Daniel Kaluuya and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith as a couple on the run after an altercation with a police officer turns deadly. It is the feature debut for both Matsoukas and Waithe.

The film was well received with an A- CinemaScore and a 84% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

At No. 6, STX Entertainment’s “21 Bridges” added $5.8 million Friday through Sunday in its second weekend (a 37% drop) for a cumulative total of $20.5 million.

In seventh place, Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” added $4.2 million over three days in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $39.2 million.

At No. 8, Lionsgate’s “Midway” added $4 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $50.3 million.

In ninth place, Warner Bros.’ “Joker” added $2 million in its ninth weekend for a cumulative $330.6 million.

Rounding out the top 10, Universal’s “Last Christmas” added about $2 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $31.7 million.

In limited release, A24 expanded “Waves” in its third weekend to 47 locations (up from 21) with $193,430 through the five days (a per-screen average of $4,116), including $140,995 over the weekend (a per-screen average of $3,000), and a cumulative $557,747.

Focus Features’ “Dark Waters” added 90 theaters (up from four in its debut last weekend) with $860,000 through the five days (a per-screen average of $9,229), including $630,000 through the weekend (a per-screen average of $6,702), for a cumulative $977,000.

This week, the studio expands “Dark Waters” into wide release and STX Entertainment opens the animated comedy “Playmobil: The Movie.”

In limited release, Amazon releases the biopic “The Aeronauts,” Neon debuts the drama “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and Magnolia Pictures reveals the sci-fi drama “Little Joe.”