5TH UPDATE, MONDAY PM: Here are today’s final Top 10 studio-reported actuals for the December 6-8 box office frame, courtesy of Rentrak. See the full Top 20 at the bottom of the file:

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x2061. Frozen, Disney, $31,616,230, 3,742 locations, (third week) -53% from previous weekend, $8,449 average, $134,253,666 cume.

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate, $26,185,886 4,163 locations, (third week) -65%, $6,290 average, $335,850,842.

3. Out Of The Furnace, Relativity Media, $5,220,288, 2,101 locations (first week), $2,485 average, $5,247,364.

4. Thor: The Dark World, Disney, $4,811,545, 3,074 locations (fifth week) -57%, $1,565 average, $193,711,187.

5. Delivery Man, Disney, $3,742,544, 2,905 locations (third week) -45% , $1,288 average, $24,767,326.

6. Homefront, Open Road, $3,428,440, 2,570 locations (second week) -50%, $1,334 average, $15,328,830, 2 weeks.

7. The Book Thief, 20th Century Fox, $2,625,623, 1,316 locations (fifth week) -46%, $1,995 average, $12,000,678.

8. The Best Man Holiday, Universal, $2,609,890, 1,577 locations (fourth week) -68%, $1,655 average, $67,175,505.

9. Philomena, The Weinstein Company, $2,195,341, 835 locations (third week) -40%, $2,629 average, $8,167,976.

10. Dallas Buyers Club, Focus Features, $1,505,669, 734 locations (sixth week) -40%, $2,051 average, $12,453,993.

BOX OFFICE THUMBNAIL: Out of the Furnace (wide after opening Wednesday in four theaters) looks weak. Inside Llewyn Davis (opened limited in four) is very strong. Thor: The Dark World surpasses $600 million this past week. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen both headed to $30 million weekends.

4TH UPDATE, SUNDAY 11 AM: Walt Disney’s Frozen and Lionsgate’s power franchise Hunger Games: Catching Fire warmed the box office this weekend as most of the nation was under a deep freeze. Traditionally, also, the weekend after Thanksgiving is slow and percentage drop-offs were not unexpected.

Top Five:

Disney's FrozenFrozen, driven by family-friendly Saturdays, was able to leapfrog over Catching Fire – early estimates had them in a dead heat going into the weekend. Frozen won the weekend with an estimated $31.6 million-plus take (a $134.2 million cume) in a box office weekend that had business suffer from moviegoers not wanting to venture out into biting temps. It’s per screen was around $8,400 in 3,742 locations and it saw a 126% jump from Friday to Saturday. This is the film’s second week out.

The Hunger Games: Catching FireCatching Fire is estimated around $27.6 million for the 3-day for a total cume of about $336.7 million domestically (per screen of $6,486 in 4,163 theaters). The film, in its third weekend, was down anywhere from 63% to 67% from a week earlier, but its Friday to Saturday jump this was roughly 53%. Last weekend, Lionsgate over-estimated on its domestic gross, but this week they seem to be more in line with general consensus.

Internationally, the female-driven franchise is in 83 markets and has taken in around $44.3 million this weekend, which brings its international total – oddly enough – to the same $336.7 million tally for a total worldwide cume of $673.4 million, according to its distributor.

Lionsgate also noted that the film is playing in the number one spot in India (where it opened this weekend) as well as Australia, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium. So, the other 76 territories it is playing in, it is not number one, but with numbers like this … who cares.  The film will open in Japan on December 27, rounding out its bows around the world.

Inside Llewyn Davis CBS Films is crowing over the huge per screen numbers for the Coen brothers movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, which with ticket sales tallying at an estimated $402,000 is about $100,500 per screen. CBS smartly added theaters on Saturday after sellouts on Friday. For news about this film, WeinsteinCo’s Philomena (no. 9 in the box office top ten with roughly $2.82 million) and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ($19,000-plus per screen), Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave, Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club (which rounded out the box office top ten with $1.5 million), see Brian Brooks’ Specialty Box Office Story.

Related: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Opens To Spectacular $100K-Plus PSA

out of the furnaceIn the number 3 domestic spot was Relativity’s Out of the Furnace which opened to lukewarm numbers on Wednesday ($14,464 for a 3,616 per screen) and Thursday ($12,612 for a $3,153 per). According to Relativity, it’s total cume for the 5-day is $5.327 million. To compare apples to apples, its three-day total was $5.25 million to $5.29 million, according to estimates. Red Granite International is handling foreign for the Scott Cooper-directed film that has a strong cast of Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana. Despite that, it only received a CinemaScore of C+.

“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,” Relativity said in a prepared statement. “While we had hoped it would perform better this weekend, we are all proud of this movie.” Yeah, well … trying to put on a good face. But hey, every studio has been there.

Thor: The Dark World continues on its way to $200 million, having logged another $4.74 million (says its distrib Walt Disney which, btw, is right in line with other’s estimates)  in 3,074 theaters (lost 212 theaters from last weekend) to push its cume to $193.6 million for the Burbank-based studio and Marvel Studios. From Friday to Saturday it saw a bump of around 75% as the movie is one the only fantasy/actioner in the marketplace right now. It takes the four spot in its fifth week out with 212 less locales this weekend.

Disney is reporting that The Dark World‘s international cume is $416.7 million. With the domestic box office added in, that gives the film a hefty $610. 34 million worldwide to date. By comparison, the original Thor’s domestic gross was $181 million and $449 million overseas. Japan is the next territory to open.

Rounding out the top five is Disney’s Vince Vaughn-starrer Delivery Man from DreamWorks grossed an estimated $3.7 million to $3.8 million over the three-day for a total cume of almost $24.8 million. It dropped 131 theaters in what is now its third weekend out which contributed to its 44% drop from last weekend.

Bottom Five:

Coming in at No. 6 is the dark drama Homefront from Open Road Films which played to a similar male demographic as Out of the Furnace. Homefront garnered a three-day total of $3.384 million in 2,570 locations in its second week. It’s total cume is expected at around $15.3 million as it dropped 53% from its first week out.

In the No. 7 spot, is Fox’s The Book Thief, the little movie that audiences seem to love, which was put into limited release and has gotten a bit of criticism on its rollout by industry watchers both in exhibition and distribution. In 1,316 locations (added 82 theaters) it took in another $2.6 million to $2.7 million to tally up a little over $12 million during its five-week run. In comparison, Dallas Buyers Club in six weeks (to be fair of the extra week), has brought in roughly 12.4 million in its 734 locations. The Book Thief (as well as Buyers Club) may get a little push once award nominations come out. Golden Globes nominations are due out on Thursday.

The Best Man Holiday, which bowed very strong in its first week from Universal, now has a cume of $67.2 million after adding another $2.7 million in 1,577 locations this weekend for a per screen of roughly $1,700. It dropped 140 locations from last weekend in its 4th weekend out of the box. Weekend to weekend it was off about 67%.

The 9th and 10th positions go to Oscar buzz films: The WeinsteinCo’s Philomena and Focus Features Dallas Buyers Club. Philomena has held strong to win the 9th position in this weekend’s box office race, tallying up another $2.8 million in 835 locales for a total of $8.2 million estimated cume. Dallas Buyers Club added another $1.5 million on 734 theaters for a cume of over $12 million, as I said earlier. For more details and pers, see the Specialty Box Office story.

Noteworthy: Although in 11th place, Warner Bros.’ Oscar hopeful for best picture, Gravity pulled in another $1.2 million domestically to push it past the $250 million domestic gross mark. Internationally, the special effects sci-fi popcorn movie has also grossed an estimated $10.7 million on over 4,000 screens (not theaters) to tally $380 million. Together, we’re looking at $630 million. As with Catching Fire, the pic has yet to release in Japan. Paramount Pictures’ Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is expected to creep just past the $100 million mark this weekend as its 3-day gross estimate in 1,157 locations grabbed about $855K. Pretty decent for such a small-budgeted film ($15 million).

Gravity bows in Japan next weekend (Dec. 13), Catching Fire on Dec. 27, and Thor: A Dark World following on Feb. 1. So party in Japan. Meanwhile, Universal began rolling out 47 Ronin, the pricey 3-D  samurai film starring Keanu Reeves and a Japanese cast on Friday in its first territory: Japan. It grossed an estimated $1.3 million in 333 dates for the weekend and all eyes in the U.S. are on the film (whose budget reportedly ballooned last year to around $180 million to $200 million). Concerns are that it won’t make its money back …  and marketing and distribution costs on top of that to boot … you can understand why it seems impossible. The rest of the film’s rollout is as follows: Singapore and Malaysia (Dec. 19), Indonesia (Dec. 20), with 15 more territories opening the last weekend of the 2013, including the U.K. and Spain. It launches in U.S. on Christmas. Universal noted that 47 Ronin is the number one MPA title in the market but is number three overall behind two local films, Lupin vs. Conan (in its freshman weekend) and Spec-Close-Reincarnation (second weekend). Stay tuned.

Sony’s Captain Phillips,estimated cume to date is $103.5 million. Black Nativity, in its second weekend, scared off audiences and was off 71% from last weekend to chase in only about $1 million on 1,525 locations for a total cume of $6.4 million. Ouch.

Opening next week: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, wide), Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (Lionsgate, wide) American Hustle (Sony, limited), Saving Mr. Banks (Disney, limited)

3RD UPDATE, SUNDAY 7:30 AM: Quick look, more to follow: Walt Disney’s Frozen won the weekend with an estimated $31 million-plus take in a box office that suffered from bad weather that affected much of the country, landing a blow in America’s mid-section. Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire will take in another $27.5 million to $27.7 million, estimates are showing, for a cume of around $337 million. Frozen’s cume to date rises to $134 million. The big story across the board is the huge per screen numbers for Inside Llewyn Davis, which is singing with around $100,000 per screen for CBS Films, which shows how strong a fan-base the Coen brothers have. Newcomer Out of the Furnace is estimated to take only $5.2 million to $5.3 million for Relativity. While the Mandela picture from WeinsteinCo was not really affected by the death of its namesake, Nelson Mandela.

CBS Films is crowing over the huge per screen numbers for Inside Llewyn Davis, which with ticket sales tallying at an estimated $402,000 is about $100,500 per screen. CBS smartly added screens on Saturday after sellouts on Friday. For news about this film, WeinsteinCo’s Philomena (no. 9 in the box office top ten with roughly 2.3 million) and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ($19,000 per screen), Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave, Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club (which rounded out the Box office top ten with $1.5 million), see Brian Brooks’ Specialty Box Office story.

UPDATE, SATURDAY AM: Box office reporters of today have become weathermen and horse race announcers. Behind-the-scene estimates from highly intelligent number crunchers at the distributors vary significantly. So here we go until further updates and I will do the top ten since it seems that is pretty set now:

The harsh weather is impacting almost the entire nation with snow, sleet, ice storms, rain from the West Coast and up through the Ohio Valley and into New York which has and will continue to impact the box office. Heck, I don’t even want to go out in this stuff to get groceries. Given that, distribs have downgraded previous box office estimates.  Also, as already reported here, all of the films have seen big decreases in percentages from last weekend’s Thanksgiving holiday which is normal. Now, off to the races –

The Top Five:

frozenAppropriately, Disney’s Frozen has edged slightly ahead into the front spot with an expected $27 million to $28 million three-day gross followed by Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is now in the $26 million to $27 million range.  Though estimates have been downgraded, it is really not affecting the rest of the pack’s pecking order which has now become clearer.

With that said, CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis ‘ per screen numbers are still strong in 4 theaters looking like a robust $85,000 to $89,000 per screen. The Cannes Grand Prix winning picture has great reviews and strong word of mouth as it rolls out in limited release domestically so the distrib is ditching A Serious Man comparisons and now making comparisons with The King’s Speech, which had a similar per when it bowed. (Everytime I write the name of this movie, I think of the late Paramount distrib president and I catch myself writing “Lewellen.” Miss Wayne).

Relativity and Red Granite International’s newcomer Out of the Furnace estimates have been downgraded to anywhere between $5.2 million to $5.5 million for the weekend.  The film is getting flack from the mayor of the Native American tribe in the NJ area where it was shot for propagating stereotypes in the Native American community who is asking for other tribes across the nation to join them in showing their discontent.

Disney’s Thor: The Dark World (Marvel) is now estimated to be around $4.5 million to $4.6 million for the weekend to bring its cume to about $193 million.  And the studio’s Delivery Man is now looking like a $3.5 million to $3.6 million weekend for a cume of around $24 million. Shrug. But good for Disney to have three pictures in the top five.

The Bottom Five:

Open Road’s Homefront is, as expected, around the $3.0 million to $3.2 million-range still for an estimated cume of around $15 million total.

Next in is The Book Thief, the little film from Fox that started out in limited release and this week added 82 theaters for a total of 1,316 locations. Still can’t figure out why the distrib decided to start its run in large theaters on its way into the domestic box office in a market that was crowded with such big movies vying for the same screens.

Best Man Holiday from Universal is still pulling in a bit of cash this weekend with an estimated $2.7 million to $2.9 million for a total cume of around $67 million.

philomenaIn ninth place is the WeinsteinCo’s Philomena which is holding strong this weekend in only 836 theaters for an estimated $2.0 million to $2.4 million. Of course, the distrib is hoping the film will earn Judi Dench a best Oscar nom. The total take so far is roughly $8,400.

Speaking of Oscar Buzz for its actors, rounding out the ten, is the Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto-starring drama Dallas Buyers Club which is taking in another $1.4 million to $1.5 million to bring its cume to around $12.4 for Focus Features.

Fox Searchlight’s Black Nativity is off significantly in its second weekend in the nation’s theaters, down 76 percent. The film just didn’t connect with audiences and its total cume is only around $6.3 million after pulling in a meager $889,000 estmate this weekend.

PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 10:49 PM: Based on Friday night ticket sales, Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney’s Frozen continue to be in a dead heat to claim the weekend’s top box office spot. Catching Fire is now estimated around a $28.3 million weekend while Disney’s Frozen is skating in at $28.2 million and the two films’ per screen averages are almost identical. Inside Llewyn Davis is very strong in its limited bow on 4 screens for CBS Films with a healthy $110,000 per Friday night which brings its estimated per screen for the weekend up to around $86,000. Relativity’s Out of the Furnace is as expected around $6 million for third place and Disney/Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is in fourth with an estimated $4.4 million as it is expected to push its cume over the $190 Catching Fire vs. Frozenmillion mark. It looks like Disney may have three pictures in the top five this weekend with the Vince Vaughn-starring Delivery Man breaking out of the pack to serve up a $3.3 million to $3.6 million weekend for the studio to pull slightly ahead of Open Road’s Homefront which is a little over $3 million at the moment. It will be interesting to see how much the weather affects attendance for these updated estimates as much of the nation faces ice storms and plunging temperatures.

PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 5:22 PM: This is my first week back reporting on the movie business after a years-long hiatus. There are new execs, the business models have changed (foreign box office has grown in importance, what we used to call the ancillary marketplace – future revenue streams – is different), and as one producer noted, P&A costs now really should be called something else since the rise of digital … so maybe, marketing and distribution costs (M&D). But overall, the game around town is pretty much the same — and that includes box office. But no matter all the jockeying, guesstimating and manipulating, the game of whether a picture beat or didn’t beat expectations (which is all about whether the tracking numbers are good or not), all that matters at the end of the day for a film is the final revenue numbers all totaled.

Related: Deadline Advisory: Anita Busch Taking Over Box Office Beat

Behind the scenes, the business has  grown a little more sophisticated – or less, Movies graphicdepending on your viewpoint – in that distributors now like to offer written “talking points” to journalists (all off the record, of course) to better guide them in their reporting. To those of you who haven’t heard of them, “talking points” are what PR people put together for their clients (executives, talent) to keep them on point and focused to push what the distributor thinks is most important: managing perceptions.

So budget numbers will be fudged and M&D costs will be muddied — all in the hope of hiding the perceived failures or real failures at the box office and to make films look more successful than they are. The domestic box office is one revenue stream and certainly the best bet at recouping your production and M&D costs, but it is not the final factor.

The question that should be asked and often to truly determine success or failure is: Will the film make money after all revenue streams are taken into account? The only way to determine that is to do breakdowns by budget, financial structure and M&D costs and splits, and ultimately it always takes you into the scary Hollywood studios’ accounting offices where they work their …. er, um … “magic.”

All that said, here are the domestic box office estimates for the weekend:

Catching Fire Box officeThe box office will continue to be dominated by Lionsgate’s female-driven action sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney’s family film Frozen, both of which are expected to make about $30 million this weekend, competing for this weekend’s top spot. Catching Fire is in its third weekend of release, on 4,163 screens, and Frozen in its second week of wide release but third weekend in theaters (3,742 screens), and it will get the family traffic on Saturday.

Catching Fire is hovering in the $30 million range with Frozen, at the moment, estimated to push a bit higher than that around $32 million.

It looks like the newcomer Out of the Furnace will take the third spot. The dark and violent drama — albeit a quality cast including Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana — from director Scott Cooper and distributed by Relativity opened on four screens Wednesday to tiny per-screen numbers and is opening wide today in 2,101 locations. It is expected to take in around $5.5 million to $6 million but likely will be competing for moviegoers with Open Road’s Homefront.

Thor: The Dark WorldThor: The Dark World in its fifth week is still playing hard on 3,074 screens and looks like to take the No. 4 spot with $4 million more. The film crossed the $600 million mark at the global box office (with the breakdown being domestic – raking in $188.9M and international, $411.8M) this past week, marking the third Disney movie and second Marvel film in 2013 to do so (Iron Man 3 and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University). However, it already has surpassed the worldwide box office cumes of the original Thor ($449 million) and Iron Man ($585 million).

The fifth spot seems somewhat logjammed with Homefront, The Book Thief, Philomena and Delivery Man all in contention, but the odds-on favorite is Homefront with a little over $3 million in its second weekend.

inside-llewyn-davis-oscar-isaac2The Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis looks to pull in a hefty per-screen averages for CBS Films in limited release (4 theaters) — anywhere between $70,000 and $80,000 per. (In comparison, the Coens’ 2009 film, A Serious Man, had a per of $41,890).

Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom is holding strong in 4 theaters, down only about 33% from a week earlier after yesterday death of the beloved Nelson Mandela. (All films will be down from last weekend due to the Thanksgiving holiday and bad weather across much of the country.)

Related: Nelson Mandela’s Death: Hollywood Reacts

So, to my earlier point, let’s look at the newcomer Out of the Furnace.Out of the Furnace Will it make its money back? The film’s production budget ended up being around $27.3 million-$28.3 million. It was brought into Pennsylvania with a $31,837,061 budget, of which $17,997,299 got the state’s 25% tax credit of roughly $4,494,325. The splits between the distribs and exhibition vary on whether a film is being platformed or not. Catching Fire would likely be about 60%, compared with less than 50% for Out of the Furnace.

With about $20 million in M&D added to production costs, the total sum for Out of the Furnace is $48.3 million, so it needs to make about double that in all of its revenue streams to break even. Relativity presold foreign rights to Red Granite International for $16.5 million, so Relativity has offset some risk. Foreign box office on Out of the Furnace is not yet available, but it needs to make at least that overseas. And it needs to do well in its other incarnations throughout other revenue streams. The Netflix deal the distrib entered also offsets another $3.435 million for Relativity.

Opening next week: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, wide), Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (Lionsgate, wide) American Hustle (Sony, limited), Saving Mr. Banks (Disney, limited).

Here is this week’s complete Top 20:

1. Frozen, Disney, $31,616,230, 3,742 locations, (third week) -53% from previous weekend, $8,449 average, $134,253,666 cume.

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate, $26,185,886 4,163 locations, (third week) -65%, $6,290 average, $335,850,842.

3. Out Of The Furnace, Relativity Media, $5,220,288, 2,101 locations (first week), $2,485 average, $5,247,364.

4. Thor: The Dark World, Disney, $4,811,545, 3,074 locations (fifth week) -57%, $1,565 average, $193,711,187.

5. Delivery Man, Disney, $3,742,544, 2,905 locations (third week) -45% , $1,288 average, $24,767,326.

6. Homefront, Open Road, $3,428,440, 2,570 locations (second week) -50%, $1,334 average, $15,328,830, 2 weeks.

7. The Book Thief, 20th Century Fox, $2,625,623, 1,316 locations (fifth week) -46%, $1,995 average, $12,000,678.

8. The Best Man Holiday, Universal, $2,609,890, 1,577 locations (fourth week) -68%, $1,655 average, $67,175,505.

9. Philomena, The Weinstein Company, $2,195,341, 835 locations (third week) -40%, $2,629 average, $8,167,976.

10. Dallas Buyers Club, Focus Features, $1,505,669, 734 locations (sixth week) -40%, $2,051 average, $12,453,993.

11. Last Vegas, CBS Films, $1,265,334, 1,539 locations (sixth week) -53%, $822 average, $60,586,942.

12. Gravity, Warner Bros., $1,211,279, 900 locations (tenth week) -53%, $1,346 average, $251,486,533.

13. 12 Years A Slave, Fox Searchlight, $1,146,959, 1,082 locations (eighth week) -50%, $1,060 average, $35,019,079.

14. Black Nativity, Fox Searchlight, $1,026,757, 1,525 locations (second week) -72%, $673 average, $6,404,760.

15. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Paramount, $820,378, 1,157 locations (seventh week) -54%, $709 average, $100,020,913, 7 weeks.

16. Nebraska, Paramount, $520,923, 113 locations (fourth week) -29%, $4,610 average, $2,238,401.

17. Captain Phillips, Sony, $510,201, 640 locations (ninth week) -56%, $797 average, $103,500,578.

18. Ender’s Game, Lionsgate, $483,974, 608 locations (sixth week) -60%, $796 average, $60,119,715.

19. Inside Llewyn Davis, CBS Films, $405,411, 4 locations (first week), $101,353 average, $405,411.

20. Free Birds, Relativity Media, $342,419, 1,202 locations (sixth week) -81%, $285 average, $53,789,345.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...
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