“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” helped set a new Thanksgiving box office record and reached a major milestone for itself, too.
While “The Grinch” led the pack as the biggest money-maker over the holiday weekend, the film — along with “102 Dalmatians,” “Unbreakable” and others — helped set a new box office record with a grand total of $171.1 million in sales, making it the largest-grossing three-day (Friday-Sunday) weekend in movie history. The previous three-day record stood at $160 million and was set last year with the help of “Toy Story 2.”
The Jim Carrey starrer took in $73.8 million over the five-day (Wednesday-Sunday) Thanksgiving holiday, making it the second highest-grossing film ever recorded during that period. To date, “The Grinch” has already made $137.4 million and also tied Sony’s “Men in Black” and Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible 2” as the fourth-fastest film in history to reach the $100 million mark in eight days.
In addition, “The Grinch” led the way to a record $244.4 million for all films in current release during the extended five-day holiday weekend.
“The Grinch,” with $73.8 million in its second weekend, approached the $80.1 million opening for “Toy Story 2” a year ago. That 1999 Thanksgiving period had set the previous record of $225.5 million for all films in release, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co., told The Associated Press.
“Unbreakable,” the follow-up to last year’s “The Sixth Sense,” debuted at the No. 2 spot with receipts totaling $47.2 million over five days and $31.5 over three days. Buena Vista’s “102 Dalmatians” took in $26.4 million while Paramount’s “Rugrats in Paris: The Movie” made $22.8 million its second week out.
As is the case most every year, box office sales were led by family friendly offerings such as “The Grinch,” “Rugrats in Paris” and “102 Dalmatians.” These three films made up $123.4 million of the weekend’s box office receipts.
“The level of business being generated by the family audience is just incredible,” Wayne Lewellen, president of distribution for Paramount Pictures, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Universal’s “The Grinch” even managed to topple Buena Vista’s reign as the top holiday studio, which has had the No. 1 film during the Thanksgiving holiday period for the past six years. It’s an even more impressive feat considering it was the second week “The Grinch” had been in theaters.
“This movie will be an immense success for every area of the studio,” Nikki Rocco, president of Universal Pictures Distribution, told the Reporter. “(Producer) Brian Grazer, (director) Ron Howard and Jim Carrey delivered to Universal an incredible early Christmas present, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”