Box Office Prediction: 'Frozen' vs. 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend - in collaboration with the Screen Rant Underground podcast Box Office Battle - to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.

For a recap of last week's box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's opening weekend - and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.

Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge that our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of November 29th - December 1, 2013.

This weekend, Disney's animated family film Frozen expands to over 3,600 theaters, action movie Homefront opens in 2,572 theaters, holiday musical Black Nativity debuts in 1,500 theaters, and The Book Thief expands to 1,000 theaters. Spike Lee's Oldboy remake sees a release of 583 theaters and Philomena expands to 500 theaters. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom gets an extremely limited release of 4 theaters.


#1 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Our choice for the top spot is last week’s champ, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (read our review). The highly anticipated sequel set a new November record last weekend by grossing over $158 million during its opening weekend and it has continued to play well, banking an additional $12.3 million on Monday. Like most tentpoles, Catching Fire will see its numbers decline during its second weekend, but it would take an unprecedented drop for it to fall from first place. For comparison, the original Hunger Games saw a 61.6 percent decrease in its second weekend and still made $58.5 million (good enough for first place). None of the competition is big enough to dethrone Katniss, so the odds are still in this movie’s favor.

Katniss and Peeta in 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

#2 - Frozen

Look for the new animated family film, Frozen, to come in second this week. Disney Animation Studios (not to be confused with the Mouse House’s Pixar Animation Studios) has had a string of box office hits over the years with Tangled ($200.8 million), Wreck-It Ralph ($189.4 million), Bolt (over $114 million), and The Princess and the Frog ($104.4 million) all drawing big crowds.

After the disappointing performance of Free Birds, the marketplace still has a kid-friendly void to fill and Frozen should do the trick. The Disney brand is recognizable and reviews have been very positive, with some critics hailing it as the next Disney masterpiece. While it won’t open big enough to beat out Catching Fire, it’s still on track to do great business over the holiday weekend.

#3 - Thor: The Dark World

Our choice for third is Thor: The Dark World (read our review). The Marvel sequel finished in second last week, making $14.1 million. The arrival of Catching Fire stole most of Thor’s thunder (pardon the pun), but the superhero film is still performing solidly. Even though its best days are gone, it should still put up solid numbers.

#4 - The Best Man Holiday

Look for The Best Man Holiday (read our review) to finish in fourth. The dramedy grossed $12.4 million last weekend and should continue to perform well. Not only is it still one of the few counterprogramming options available for older moviegoers, the holiday setting makes it all the more timely during Thanksgiving weekend.

#5 - Homefront

Rounding out the top five should be Homefront. The latest Jason Statham vehicle will certainly find an audience among action fans, but it’s unlikely the movie has mass appeal. His films tend to be very niche (most of them finished somewhere in the mid $20 – low $40 million range) and with all the competition this weekend, it doesn’t seem like this will breakout.

#10 - Gravity

Our tiebreaker this week is Gravity (read our review) Alfonso Cuarón’s space-thriller came in eighth place last weekend as it winds down its terrific box office run.


Due to it opening in only 583 theaters, we do not expect Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy to crack the top five. The director – while well known – is not a proven box office draw, which hurts this film’s chances as well.

This week’s other wide release, Black Nativity, could also struggle to finish in the top five. While its holiday-set story might make it an appealing option, it’s only playing in 1,500 theaters (by far the lowest of this week’s wide openings), which will make it difficult to keep up with the competition.

That's it for this week's breakdown.


Screen Rant Underground Podcast

Now, if you want to participate in the weekly Box Office Battle, it's time for you to make your picks! In the comments section below, post what you think will be the top five movies this weekend at the box office as well as your own number ten tiebreaker. Then, tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the results and find out who won.

Opening in theaters this week (Wide):

  • Frozen - 3,600+ theaters
  • Homefront - 2,572 theaters
  • Black Nativity - 1,500 theaters
  • The Book Thief - 1,000 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Oldboy - 583 theaters
  • Philomena - 500 theaters
  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - 4 theaters (on Friday, November 29)

* All releases are on Wednesday, November 27 (except where noted). For the purposes of our game, we will be using the 3-day numbers from November 29 - December 1, NOT the full 5-day totals.

Box Office Battle Scoring Rules: You get three (3) points for each direct match with the weekend actuals and one (1) point for each movie placed within one spot of the exact position. A perfect score is 15 points. Tie-breakers are not worth any points but, in the event of a tie, the person with a tie-breaker selection closest to the number 10 spot will be awarded the win.

Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's opening): Sal reports that there was a four-way tie between The Prince That Was Promised, insufferable deadpool, 68FC and boogoo. They all had scores of 13 points and were all 1 away from the tiebreaker.

For the record, here are our picks from last week - along with the corresponding amount of points we received for each pick (listed in parenthesis).

  • #1 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (3)
  • #2 - The Best Man Holiday (1)
  • #3 - Thor: The Dark World (1)
  • #4 - Delivery Man (3)
  • #5 - Last Vegas (1)
  • #10 - Ender's Game
  • Final Score: 9 points


Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results and tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the weekly winners!

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)

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