Despite Relativity’s aggressive attempts to remind people that a film about Thanksgiving was still in theaters, very few moviegoers opted to avoid talking to their families by seeing Free Birds. The month-old animated movie pulled in just $1.8 million over the weekend, possibly because no one wanted to watch a movie about talking, pain-feeling turkeys immediately after gorging themselves on one. Pity the few parents who took that holiday guilt trip; in their traumatized children’s eyes, they now have blood (and gravy) on their hands.
Perhaps Free Birds could have succeeded in painfully transforming the nation’s youth into instant vegetarians were it not competing against an attractive alternative. Frozen, Disney’s latest addition to its ever-growing vault, made $93 million over the five-day holiday stretch, smashing the Thanksgiving debut record set by Toy Story 2 way back in 1999. Though that’s a hair above what box-office gurus were expecting—and a great start for a film that will probably continue to do strong business, if its “A+” CinemaScore is any indication—it wasn’t enough to win the weekend. America mostly opted to feast on leftovers instead: Over the five-day stretch, last week’s winner, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, forked up another $110 million. That brings its total tally to $295.5 million. Assuming moviegoers remain hungry for more Games, it should ultimately top the $409 million last year’s inaugural chapter made.
If Catching Fire was the fowl and Frozen was the mashed potatoes of this year’s Thanksgiving multiplex feast, a trio of other openers went over about as well as Aunt Judy’s notoriously untouched cranberry sauce. Despite the alluring promise of Jason Statham beating the crap out of James Franco, Homefront made only $9.8 over the five-day stretch. That was better, at least, than the dismal $5 million Black Nativity drummed up, and much better than the truly awful $1.25 million Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake managed. The latter proves, if nothing else, that some leftovers weren’t meant to be nuked.
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