Catching Fire, Frozen break records

Salisbury Journal: Jennifer Lawrence stars in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Jennifer Lawrence stars in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the 3D animated musical Frozen have dished up US box office records over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lionsgate's sequel, starring Jennifer Lawrence, earned a prodigious 75 million US dollars (£45 million) in its second weekend, while Disney's frosty fete, voiced by Kristen Bell, opened with 67 million dollars (£40.8 million), according to studio estimates.

Both films did better than the previous Thanksgiving record holder, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, which earned 57.5 million dollars (£35 million) in 2001 over a three-day period.

Snowballing its way to the top, Frozen became the biggest Thanksgiving opening ever and the largest opening for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

"For a company whose foundation was built on animation, to have this as the biggest opening ever is a pretty extraordinary thing," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Walt Disney Studios, adding that the box office draw of Frozen exceeded studio expectations.

"We came into the weekend feeling like anything that would exceed the result from Tangled from a couple years back would be great," Hollis added. Tangled opened with 68.7 million dollars (£41.8 million) in 2010. "We thought something in the 70-80 million dollar range is what might be possible with Frozen. We are hoping it lends itself to a big, long pay-off after this great start."

The films topped records for the highest domestic box office grosses for the three-day and five-day holiday weekend. Catching Fire blazed the trail to number one and Frozen slid in at number two.

Catching Fire earned the biggest-ever gross for a film from Wednesday to Sunday over the Thanksgiving holiday. It brought in 110.2 million dollars (£67 million), raising its domestic total to 297 million dollars (£181 million). Frozen scored 93 million dollars (£56.6 million) over the five days, topping Disney's previous five-day champ, Toy Story 2, which earned 80.1 million dollars (£48.7 million) in 1999.

"All of these records being broken, it's like a true snowball effect," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "Overall, this is the biggest Thanksgiving weekend for the industry ever. Last year was the Thanksgiving record holder, but this one-two punch with Catching Fire and Frozen was just amazing."

Internationally, Catching Fire continued to bring the heat, earning a total of 276 million dollars (£168 million) through to December 1. Opening at number one in France, Italy and Belgium, the sequel exceeded the opening weekend of The Hunger Game" in all three markets. Overall, the sequel has grossed 573 million dollars (£349 million) worldwide.

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