‘Frozen’ tops ‘Catching Fire,’ but ‘Furnace’ generates no heat

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After two weekends atop the box office, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was iced out by “Frozen.”

The 3-D animated winter musical had a massive opening over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but was still unable to eke out a win over the latest entry in the popular young-adult franchise. During its second weekend in release, however, the tables turned as Walt Disney Studios said its family film collected $31.6 million to bring its domestic total to $134.3 million. The Katniss Everdeen tale grossed an additional $27 million, raising its tally to $336.7 million after 17 days in theaters.

Over Turkey Day, “Frozen” was quickly embraced by moviegoers, who assigned the film a perfect average grade of A+, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That positive audience word-of-mouth — combined with strong reviews from critics — is clearly paying off.


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The animated musical, featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Josh Gad, follows a young girl attempting to find her lost sister in their icy kingdom. The picture is on pace to exceed the $189.4 million that “Wreck-It Ralph,” Walt Disney Animation’s last release, made in the U.S. and Canada last year — and has a good shot of surpassing the $200.8-million gross of the studio’s 2010 musical “Tangled” too.

Meanwhile, at this point in its release in 2012, “The Hunger Games” had grossed roughly $34 million less than the sequel has. “Catching Fire” is also far surpassing the original overseas. The movie starring Jennifer Lawrence as a heroine fighting for her life in a brutal survival competition is now playing in 83 foreign markets, where it has grossed $336.7 million thus far — yes, oddly the exact same amount it has collected domestically.

The series’ profile abroad has clearly risen since last year: “The Hunger Games” only made 41% of its $691.2 million global total internationally. The sequel is performing best in the United Kingdom, where it has sold $42.9 million worth of tickets, as well as in Germany and China.

While “Catching Fire” is still blazing its trail, “Out of the Furnace,” the only new film playing nationwide this weekend, was unable to generate any heat in its debut. The gritty thriller bombed with just $5.3 million, one of the worst openings ever for star Christian Bale.

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Positioned as a possible awards contender by distributor Relativity Media, “Out of the Furnace” follows a Rust Belt worker (Bale) trying to save his brother (Casey Affleck) from a seedy crime ring. However, the picture has been met with lukewarm reviews and was disliked by its small opening-weekend crowd, who gave the film an average grade of C+. The movie attracted an older male audience, as 77% of the those who bought tickets were over the age of 25.

The movie was financed for $22 million by Relativity, though the studio says that cost was offset by about $16 million by pre-selling the film to foreign distributors. Relativity executives declined to discuss why the picture misfired at the box office, instead passing along a widely disseminated statement to the press.

“There’s no better swing for a studio to take than one with a daring story from a renowned director and an award-winning cast,” read the statement from David Shane, Relativity’s executive vice president of corporate communications. “While we had hoped it would perform better this weekend, we are all proud of this movie.”


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