Special Report

Every Major Holiday’s Highest-Grossing Movie

Ever since James Cameron’s blockbuster “Titanic” was released in December 1997, Hollywood has looked to the holiday season as a prime time for movie releases. But it’s not just the year-end holidays that can bring big ticket sales. In the United States, there are 13 holidays that can generate significant revenue for movie makers. (Read about the origins of July 4th and every other federal holiday.)

To compile a list of which film had the highest recorded domestic box-office gross on each three-day weekend encompassing or nearest to each of these, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. (The domestic market is defined as including the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Guam.) 

The Numbers tracks both films that open on these weekends and all films, including earlier releases, that are screening on them. Our list reflects the highest-grossing opening films. Box office totals are not adjusted for inflation. (Total gross for each film also comes from The Numbers. Information on each film’s cast comes from IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon.)

Action/comic-themed movies have been the biggest hits on four separate holidays. One of them, “Black Panther,” holds the holiday weekend box-office revenue record of $206.2 million on Washington’s Birthday in 2018. The fantasy/adventure “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies have topped the holiday film field twice. (See the 100 top-grossing movies of all time.)

Click here to see every major holiday’s highest-grossing movie

Thrillers, biopics, family films, and animated movies are all represented on our list. Family films do well around the holidays starting around Thanksgiving. The success of “Texas Chainsaw,” a reboot of the horror franchise, which came out on New Year’s Day in 2013, conforms to the research by the Stephen Follows Film Data and Education website, which found that Hollywood releases more horror films in January than in any other month.

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