As Thanksgiving and Christmas begin to roll around, we start to enter the period of time where big time movies hit the theaters as less people spend time outside. Other than summer blockbusters, Fall and Winter tends to bring some of the biggest movies to the screen. Today, we will look back through the years and see what were the top movies debuted in the box office on this week week 5, 10, 20 or 25 years back.
This weekend, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” and “The Night Before” look to be the top movies in the theaters. But let’s hop in the wayback machine and travel back in time.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Pt. 1 – $169,969,028 Opening Week
What you will find to be a common theme, Harry Potter takes over Thanksgiving Week. The first chapter of the final chapter of the Harry Potter series debuted in 2010, and had some of the saddest moments in the series. Still one of my favorite films in the series, despite being a major set-up for the finale.
Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a mission to destroy the Horcruxes, the sources of Voldemort’s immortality. Though they must rely on one another more than ever, dark forces threaten to tear them apart. Voldemort’s Death Eaters have seized control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, and they are searching for Harry — even as he and his friends prepare for the ultimate showdown.
The Next Three Days – $9,708,949 Opening Week
I honestly never heard of this movie, but it’s maybe because I was pumped for Pottermania. Here’s the synopsis of the film:
Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she says she did not commit. Three years later while struggling with the demands of work and raising his son alone, John is still trying to establish her innocence. When her final appeal is rejected, Lara becomes suicidal, forcing John to exercise the only option he has left: Break her out of prison.
Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire – $146,283,069 Opening Week
It’s no surprise that the Harry Potter franchise knew what they were doing in giving these movies Thanksgiving releases. To be fair, you could have released the movie on any day of the year and it would have made the same amount. Goblet of Fire has a major competition between three wizarding schools, including one that played home to a future vampire heartthrob, Robert Pattinson.
Walk The Line – $34,795,769 Opening Week
Despite having to go up the goliath that is Harry Potter, Walk The Line released in this week 10 years ago. The film had such success that it was the highest grossing biopic ($119,519,402) until 2015’s Straight Outta Compton broke that record. The movie was highly acclaimed including earning Reese Witherspoon an Academy Award for Best Actress, while the movie won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix) and Best Actress (Witherspoon).
How The Grinch Stole Christmas – $84,977,355 Opening Week
So not every movie that comes out on Thanksgiving week is a winner, as you’ll see with the #2 movie of this week of 2000. However, I actually like How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There are a number of quotable moments, Jeffery Tambor can do no wrong in my mind, no matter how much Sabra hummus he eats. This one has a constant rotation in my house.
Rugrats In Paris: The Movie – $30,160,099 Opening Week
I grew up in the Rugrats era, but by this point, I had put Tommy, Phil, Lil, Chucky, Angelica, Reptar, Spike and the rest of the gang behind me. I didn’t even know this was an actual movie, but I’m sure some craziness ensued. Here’s the synopsis:
In the long-running animated series’ second feature film, the focus is on the show’s perennial second banana, Chuckie (Christine Cavanaugh). Dads Stu (Jack Riley) and Chaz (Michael Bell) are unexpectedly sent to Euro-Reptarland in Paris, where the animatronic dinosaurs they built for the amusement park are malfunctioning, much to the displeasure of manager Coco La Bouche (Susan Sarandon). When the dislikable Coco gets interested in the single Chaz, Chuckie and his friends swing into action.
Goldeneye – $39,094,491 Opening Week
That’s right. While Spectre debuted last week, Goldeneye came out 20 years ago this week. I honestly don’t remember the plot of Goldeneye. However, I do know the entire plot of the Goldeneye video game, which may be one of the greatest multiplayer video games of all time. No OddJob, Slappers Only… Also, I know it was 1995, but how did this movie only gross $39 million in its opening week? That just seems nuts.
The American President – $15,209,251 Opening Week
Ah, The American President, AKA – The Movie I confuse with Dave. The American President is a rom-com by Aaron Sorkin, where Michael Douglas tries to woo Annette Bening, while also trying to pass a crime control bill. That’s all I know about the movie. Apparently it got a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, so maybe it is one worth going back and watching.
Home Alone – $27,299,391 Opening Week
That’s right, it’s been 25 years since the debut of one of the best christmas movies of all time. Kevin, Marv and Harry had their crazy escapades in the Chicago home 25 years ago and made every child feel like they could singlehandedly take out any burglar who came into their house. I would love to see how many kids had made schematics of their home on the printer paper where you had to tear off the strips on the side. Like most christmas movies, you work the quotes into your life, including my favorite, “Buzz… Your Girlfriend… Woof…” I was actually just talking about this the other day, but the moment that really dates how old this movie is when Kevin ziplines to the tree house and threatens to call the cops. Oh yeah, you couldn’t do that in 1990, which makes it even better because Kevin had to make all of those traps without the technology we’re afforded today. Great movie, I’ll probably watch it today.
Rocky V – $19,606,494 Opening Week
Rocky is old and retired and in a not great movie. Rocky mentors a young Tommy while also having a tumultuous relationship with his son, who is played by Stallone’s actual son. It’s a movie that happened…