Special Report

Every Major Holiday’s Highest-Grossing Movie

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

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.

Source: Courtesy of Millennium Films

New Year’s Day
> Top grossing movie: Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
> Opening weekend: $21.7 million
> Box office total: $34.3 million
> Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood, Trey Songz

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Martin Luther King Day
> Top grossing movie: American Sniper (2014)
> Opening weekend: $101.7 million
> Box office total: $350.1 million
> Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Super Bowl Sunday
> Top grossing movie: Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert (2008)
> Opening weekend: $40.6 million
> Box office total: $65.3 million
> Starring: Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Kenny Ortega, Billy Ray Cyrus

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Washington’s Birthday (Presidents’ Day)
> Top grossing movie: Black Panther (2018)
> Opening weekend: $206.2 million
> Box office total: $700 million
> Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Easter
> Top grossing movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
> Opening weekend: $178.8 million
> Box office total: $330.3 million
> Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg

Source: Courtesy of American Broadcasting Company

Memorial Day
> Top grossing movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
> Opening weekend: $156.3 million
> Box office total: $309.4 million
> Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

Independence Day
> Top grossing movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
> Opening weekend: $194 million
> Box office total: $423.3 million
> Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Labor Day
> Top grossing movie: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
> Opening weekend: $75.4 million
> Box office total: $224.5 million
> Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Ben Kingsley

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Columbus Day
> Top grossing movie: Venom (2018)
> Opening weekend: $80.2 million
> Box office total: $213.5 million
> Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze

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Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Halloween
> Top grossing movie: Saw 3D (Saw: The Final Chapter) (2010)
> Opening weekend: $24.2 million
> Box office total: $45.7 million
> Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Cary Elwes

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Veterans Day
> Top grossing movie: Skyfall (2012)
> Opening weekend: $104.4 million
> Box office total: $304.4 million
> Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Thanksgiving
> Top grossing movie: Frozen (2013)
> Opening weekend: $67.4 million
> Box office total: $401 million
> Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Christmas
> Top grossing movie: Sherlock Holmes (2009)
> Opening weekend: $62.3 million
> Box office total: $209 million
> Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong

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