- Tangled box office: Though trailing Warner Bros.’ mega-blockbuster Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the Walt Disney Studios’ computer-animated version of the ancient German fairy tale “Rapunzel” is on its way to becoming one of the year’s biggest hits.
- In other domestic box office news, three titles in wide release have underperformed – the musical Burlesque, the romantic comedy-drama Lovers & Other Drugs, the action thriller Faster – while The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as a fairy-tale version of the future British King George VI – is doing excellent business in limited release.
Tangled box office: Disney’s computer-animated version of Princess Rapunzel has the second biggest Thanksgiving debut ever
Nov. 26–28 (Thanksgiving) weekend box office: Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Ralph Fiennes, Warner Bros.’ David Yates-directed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 barely managed to remain atop the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart this past Thanksgiving weekend, grossing $49.1 million (Fri.–Sun.) according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
Yet Thanksgiving’s real box office story was that of the no. 2 title, the Walt Disney Studios’ computer-animated 3D musical fairy tale Tangled, which, after adding $48.8 million on the weekend proper (Fri.–Sun.), boasted the holiday’s second biggest debut ever: $68.7 million (Wed.–Sun.; Deathly Hallows: Part 1 scored $75 million during the same five-day period).
Now, it must be noted that despite the box office boost provided by higher ticket prices and 3D surcharges, Tangled still trailed the Thanksgiving-debut champ by a wide margin. Directed by John Lasseter, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 2 raked in $80.1 million (Wed.–Sun.) back in 1999.
Will Disney’s blockbuster in the making recover its gargantuan budget?
That Tangled is on its way to becoming both a domestic and an international blockbuster is indisputable. Having said that, it’s unclear whether the $260 million production (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses) will be able to break even at the box office alone. (Ah, but all those ancillary revenues … See further below.)
The good box office news is that Tangled won’t be an outright domestic underachiever like Disney’s landmark The Princess and the Frog – featuring the studio’s first black princess – which was budgeted at $105 million and earned a relatively underwhelming $104.4 million domestically (plus a healthier, though hardly extraordinary, $162.6 million internationally).
But then again, when it comes to Tangled we’re talking $260 million, plus marketing and distribution expenses. That’s a steep box office hill to climb.
Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, Tangled features the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor, M.C. Gainey, Paul F. Tompkins, and veteran Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker).
Global blockbuster failed to break even
Update: The Walt Disney Studios’ Tangled ultimately collected $200.8 million domestically and a fantastic $391.6 million internationally. Worldwide total: $592.4 million.
Undeniably, that was a blockbuster figure. Yet it far from what was needed for the computer-animated musical romance to break even at the box office.
Ah, but let’s not forget all those ancillary revenues…
Tangled’s top international markets – some of which used Rapunzel (and variations) as the title – were Germany (where the fairy tale likely originated, with $41.2 million), France ($39.4 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($32.9 million), Japan ($31.1 million), Brazil ($24.3 million), Russia/CIS ($23.4 million), Australia ($22.6 million), Spain ($19.9 million), Italy ($14.7 million), and Mexico ($14.1 million).
Three big-name releases underperform
For the record, rounding out the Top Seven movies on this past Thanksgiving weekend’s domestic box office chart (Fri.–Sun. unless otherwise noted) were:
- At no. 3, Tom McGrath’s computer-animated 3D supervillain comedy Megamind grossed $12.6 million (down 22 percent on its fourth weekend). Cume: $130.2 million. Cast: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt.
- At no. 4, Steven Antin’s backstage musical Burlesque debuted with an underwhelming $17.3 million (Wed.–Sun.) from 3,037 venues. Fri.–Sun. gross: $11.9 million. Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Cam Gigandet, and Kristen Bell. Distributor: Screen Gems/Sony Pictures. Budget: $55 million.
- At no. 5, Tony Scott’s action thriller Unstoppable grossed $11.4 million (down a mere 12 percent on its third weekend). Cume: $60.4 million. Cast: Chris Pine and Denzel Washington.
- At no. 6, Edward Zwick’s romantic comedy-drama Lovers & Other Drugs debuted with a dispassionate $13.9 million (Wed.–Sun.) from 2,455 venues. Fri.–Sun. gross: $9.7 million. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Judy Greer, and the recently deceased Jill Clayburgh. Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Budget: $30 million.
- At no. 7, George Tillman Jr.’s action thriller Faster debuted with a lethargic $12 million (Wed.–Sun.) from 2,454 venues. Fri.–Sun. gross: $8.5 million. Cast: Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton. Distributor: CBS Films. Budget: $24 million.
Updated global figures: Burlesque, Lovers & Other Drugs, Faster
Update: The Cher-Christina Aguilera musical Burlesque ultimately collected $39.4 million domestically and $50.1 million internationally. Worldwide total: $89.5 million.
That global cume means that Burlesque was a major commercial disappointment.
The Jake Gyllenhaal-Anne Hathaway romantic comedy-drama Lovers & Other Drugs ultimately collected $32.4 million domestically and a surprisingly strong $70.4 million internationally. Worldwide total: $102.8 million.
Thanks to foreign moviegoers, that was a likely profitable cume.
The Dwayne Johnson action thriller Faster ultimately collected a puny $23.2 million domestically and an even punier $12.4 million internationally (possibly incomplete). Worldwide total: $33.6 million.
That was an all-around disastrous figure.
”Tangled Box Office: Disney Princess Nears Thanksgiving Record” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Tangled Box Office: Disney Princess Nears Thanksgiving Record” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Tangled, Burlesque, Lovers & Other Drugs, Faster, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Princess Rapunzel Tangled movie image: Walt Disney Studios.
Christina Aguilera and Cher Burlesque movie image: Screen Gems | Sony Pictures.
“Tangled Box Office: Disney Princess Nears Thanksgiving Record” last updated in September 2023.