Thanksgiving records collapsed over the five-day holiday weekend led by the phenomenal holdover success of Universal Pictures' Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The family adventure took an estimated $73.8m from Wednesday to Sunday - about $52.4m over the Friday to Sunday period - bringing its ten day total to a quite astonishing $137.4m. That means that The Grinch is headed to $200m in super-fast time and is likely to end up as the biggest grossing film of 2000.
With little competition next weekend, it should also hold on to the top spot for the third weekend in a row. For Universal, it was a double pleasure in that the studio broke Disney's record of winning the Thanksgiving holiday box office race for the last six years (Toy Story 2 in 1999, A Bug's Life in 1998, Flubber in 1997, 101 Dalmatians in 1996, Toy Story in 1995 and The Santa Clause in 1994)
Not that Disney wasn't expected to win this Thanksgiving too. Its drama Unbreakable opened at number two with a still impressive $47.2m over the five days and its own live action family movie 102 Dalmatians opened at three with a slightly disappointing $26.8m. However the two grosses combined still only just equalled that of The Grinch which was clearly the weekend's favourite for families.
The weekend was a Thanksgiving record, up nearly 14% from last year's record when Toy Story 2 had a massive $80.1m opening. The Grinch passed the $100m mark on Friday, only its eighth day in theatres, while also on Friday, Charlie's Angels reached the $100m mark, its 22nd day on release.
17 films have now crossed $100m in 2000. In addition to the two new films, they are Erin Brockovich, Gladiator, Dinosaur, Mission: Impossible 2, Big Momma's House, Chicken Run, The Perfect Storm, The Patriot, X-Men, Gone In 60 Seconds, Scary Movie, What Lies Beneath, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Meet The Parents and Remember The Titans.
For M Night Shyamalan and Bruce Willis, director and star of last year's $293m smash The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable was a second runaway hit, despite mixed reviews. Its three day opening of $31.5m beat the $26.7m achieved by The Sixth Sense. 102 Dalmatians was clearly trounced by The Grinch and its three day total of $20.4m failed to match the $33.5m opening of its 1996 predecessor.
The Grinch played in 3,134 theatres, Unbreakable in 2,708 theatres and 102 Dalmatians in 2,704 theatres.
Also opening was Fox Searchlight's Quills directed by Phil Kaufman and starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, which took an estimated $310,000 on nine screens for a powerful screen average of $34,955.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US NOV 22-26
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal) UIP $73.8m $137.4m
2 (-) Unbreakable (Buena Vista) BVI $47.2m --
3 (-) 102 Dalmatians (Buena Vista) BVI $26.8m --
4 (2) Rugrats In Paris (Paramount) UIP $23m $47.8m
5 (3) Charlie's Angels (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $14m $109.2m
6 (5) Bounce (Miramax) Miramax International $11m $24.5m
7 (4) The Sixth Day (Columbia) Columbia TriStar/Phoenix $10.2m $25.2m
8 (6) Men Of Honor (20th Century Fox) Fox International $9.3m $35.5m
9 (8) Meet The Parents (Universal) DreamWorks/UIP $9.1m $148.6m
10 (7) Little Nicky (New Line) New Line International $6.5m $33.9m