A lot of people chow down on their Thanksgiving meals and then head out to the movie theater to finish up the holiday. Because of this, many big box office hits tend to open during the week. In the past, that included installments of Twilight and Harry Potter. This year Creed and The Good Dinosaur are premiering ahead of the holiday, while The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 opened last weekend. However, thanks to overall low turnout to the movie theaters, some of these films aren’t expected to rake in that much cash. In fact, the last movie of The Hunger Games franchise debuted at its all-time low with $101 million, according to The Guardian.
So what exactly has done well in the past for this holiday that might give some insight into why this big blockbuster isn’t doing so hot? There are seven movies that have been able to dominate after opening on or around this holiday. They are the highest-grossing over its lifetime and topped the charts when they first opened. There is no doubt that there is a running theme of what does well. It is a family holiday, so family movies tend to dominate, and this happens to be Disney’s specialty. Here are the seven highest-grossing movies that opened on Thanksgiving weekend.
7. Four Christmases: $163,733,697
This is the only movie on the list that was able to break the Disney winning streak on Thanksgiving. The comedy shows Brad and Kate making the rounds to all four Christmases held by their divorced parents. It didn’t get much love during award season, but it was successful.
The movie was budgeted at an estimated $80 million according to IMDb. On its opening weekend it made $31,069,826 and beat Australia, Transporter 3, Milk, and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye on their opening weekend. The total gross in the film’s lifetime is $120,146,040 domestically and $43,587,657 internationally, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s a total of $163,733,697.
6. A Bug’s Life: $363,398,565
The movie follows an ant named Flik, who doesn’t quite fit in and has to save his colony from evil grasshoppers. The movie was budgeted for $120 million, and on the opening weekend it made $33,258,052. It was released in 1998 and it beat Babe: Pig in the City, Home Fries, Ringmaster, and Very Bad Things on their opening weekend. It was nominated for Best Music at the Oscars. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie’s total lifetime gross is $162,798,565 domestically and $200,600,000 internationally.
5. 101 Dalmatians: $320,689,294
The live-action take on Cruella De Vil stealing Dalmatians to take their fur was released in 1996. Unlike most movies on the list, it didn’t get any Academy Award nominations, but it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in Comedy for Glenn Close. It beat The Crucible, Sling Blade, and Zero Kelvin on their opening weekend making $33,504,025. The total lifetime gross is $136,189,294 domestically and $184,500,00 internationally.
4. Enchanted: $340,487,652
Amy Adams plays princess Giselle, who is about to get married but is stopped by an evil queen that sends her to New York. The film’s three songs, “Happy Working Song,” “So Close,” and “That’s How You Know” were nominated for an Oscar. Enchanted was released in 2007, and it came out at No. 1 on its opening weekend beating This Christmas, Hitman, August Rush, and The Mist. It has grossed $127,807,262 domestically and $212,680,390 internationally, according to Box Office Mojo.
3. Tangled: $591,794,936
Disney took on the story of Rapunzel escaping her tower and using her long hair to her advantage. It was nominated for Original Song for “I See the Light.” When it was released in 2010, it was only topped by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1, which opened a week before. It did top Burlesque, Love and Other Drugs, and Faster on their opening weekend. It grossed $200,821,936 domestically and $390,973,000 internationally over its lifetime.
2. Toy Story 2: $485,015,179
In 1999, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the crew returned to rescue the cowboy after being stolen from a toy collector. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for “When She Loved Me,” but it lost to Tarzan‘s “You’ll Be In My Heart.” The movie beat out End of Days, Flawless, Ride with the Devil, and 2 by 4 on their opening weekend. Over its lifetime it grossed $245,852,179 domestically and $239,163,000 internationally.
1. Frozen: $1,276,480,335
The winner might not be that big of a surprise since the movie and its song were pretty inescapable after Frozen‘s 2013 release. The story is about Queen Elsa accidentally turning everything into ice. Her sister Anna has to seek out and find her to change the icy kingdom back. It won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the year and another one for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures. It also, of course, made a bunch of money. Over its lifetime it has grossed $400,738,009 domestically and $875,742,326 internationally.
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