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Weekend Report: 'Hunger Games' Leads One of the Worst Weekends of the Year

by Ray Subers
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
 

 
December 7, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 easily retained the top spot over a very slow post-Thanksgiving weekend.

Without a single new nationwide release, the domestic box office took a dive: the Top 12 earned $70.2 million, which makes this the second-worst weekend of the year.

In its third weekend, Mockingjay fell 61 percent to $22 million. While that drop looks steep, it's actually an improvement over Catching Fire's 65 percent drop at the same point last year.

To date, Mockingjay has earned $258.2 million, which ranks fourth for the year (it will be in second place by Tuesday). If it follows Catching Fire's pattern from here, it will wrap up with around $330 million.

Penguins of Madagascar
took second place with $10.9 million, which is off 57 percent from its opening. In comparison, Rise of the Guardians only fell 44 percent on this same weekend in 2012. Penguins is now less than $1 million ahead of Guardians—$49.4 million vs. $48.8 million—and is on track to wrap up below $100 million.

Horrible Bosses 2
added $8.4 million, which is off a light 46 percent. That's a very strong hold for the weekend after Thanksgiving, when even the strongest titles typically drop at least 50 percent (last year's Frozen, for example). Still, the Bosses sequel has only earned $35.9 million so far; even if it continues to hold well, it probably won't make it past $60 million.

Big Hero 6
fell 57 percent to $8.04 million. To date, the Disney Animation hit has grossed $177.5 million, and remains on track to eventually cruise past $200 million.

Interstellar
eased 51 percent to $7.8 million. The Christopher Nolan sci-fi epic has so far grossed $158.4 million, and is now guaranteed to close with at least $175 million.

Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything fell 47 percent to $2.65 million this weekend. That's a slightly disappointing drop: compare that to Philomena, which was off 40 percent on the same weekend last year. Still, The Theory of Everything has already earned $13.6 million, and is well-positioned for a nice run through the holiday season.

20th Century Fox released horror movie The Pyramid at 589 theaters, which is just shy of the 600-theater threshold for "nationwide" release. The movie earned $1.37 million, which put it in ninth place behind fellow Fox movie Gone Girl (which is in its 10th weekend).

It would be easy to beat up on this, but it's actually an example of a studio making a really smart financial decision. Fox seemed to recognize that this low-budget horror movie—which was oddly reminiscent of August's As Above/So Below—didn't have a lot of theatrical potential in the U.S.

Instead of spending the marketing dollars it would require to open this in 2,000 theaters, they opted for a much more modest release. This isn't a sustainable business model—a major studio isn't going to cover overhead if they're doing this a dozen times each year—but in this particularly situation it seems to have been a savvy move.

Opening at 21 locations, Wild earned $606,810 this weekend. While its per-theater average of $28,896 pales in comparison to past early December releases like Black Swan ($80,212) and Up in the Air ($78,763), it's still a good result. Fox Searchlight is planning to have this in close to 100 theaters next weekend, then expand to at least 800 locations by Christmas Day.

In its second weekend, The Imitation Game expanded to eight theaters and earned $389,260. That translates to an impressive $48,658 per-theater average.

Around-the-World Roundup


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1
once again led the international box office with $31.6 million. To date, the penultimate chapter in the Hunger Games franchise has earned $302.8 million; with China and Japan on the way, it could eventually match Catching Fire's $440 million.

Penguins of Madagascar
added $23.3 million from 49 markets for a new total of $93.8 million. It opened in third place in the U.K. with a weak $2.4 million, though it did hang on to first place in Russia ($4.2 million) and Italy ($1.9 million). The DreamWorks Animation spin-off still has plenty of markets left to open, including five of the top 10.

A week ahead of its U.S. debut, Exodus: Gods and Kings opened in 10 international markets and earned an estimated $23 million. It scored impressive debuts in South Korea ($6.2 million, Ridley Scott's biggest ever), Mexico ($4.7 million) and Spain ($3.7 million), though it was less impressive in Australia ($2.3 million). The movie expands in to 19 additional markets next weekend, and will continue rolling out through the beginning of January.

Interstellar
added $22.8 million for a new total of $434.4 million; sometime next weekend, it will pass Gravity's $442 million. The movie is now the biggest 2D-only import ever in China ($119.2 million) and South Korea ($66.7 million).

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

Forecast:
Forecast: 'Mockingjay' to Three-Peat On Quiet Post-Thanksgiving Weekend

Last Weekend
'Hunger Games' Devours Undercooked Franchise Titles Over Thanksgiving

This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2013 - 'Frozen' Beats 'Fire,' 'Furnace' Melts
• 2012 - Holdovers Hang On, 'Killing' 'Soft' in Seventh
• 2011 - 'Twilight' Three-peats on Quiet Weekend
• 2010 - 'Tangled' Takes Reigns from 'Potter'
• 2009 - 'Blind Side' Tackles Post-Thanksgiving Blahs
• 2008 - 'Four Christmases,' 'Twilight' Hold Post-Thanksgiving
• 2007 - 'Enchanted' Tops Slow Weekend
• 2006 - 'Happy Feet,' 'Casino' Repeat, 'Nativity' Meek
• 2005 - 'Aeon Flux' Flounders at High End of Low Expectations


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