Pixar's 'Dinosaur' and 'Creed' Look To Take a Bite Out of 'Mockingjay' This Thanksgiving
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 enters its second weekend amid a flurry of opinions when it comes to its $102.6 million opening weekend. It also faces much stiffer competition this Thanksgiving weekend than Part 1 did a year ago, which only had Penguins of Madagascar to contend with, while Part 2 not only faces a new Pixar release in The Good Dinosaur, but also Creed, which has been (rightfully) well-received. All will be competing for holiday eyeballs when folks aren't stuffing their faces, taking in football and parades or knocking each other out for Black Friday deals.

When it comes to Mockingjay 2, the last two Hunger Games films have fallen 53% in their second weekends, and that would seem to be the high bar for Part 2. I'm thinking more along the lines of a 56% drop, which means it may be a dogfight for #1 this weekend. All previous Hunger Games films have finished first in their second weekend, but there's a fun-loving, prehistoric family feature looking to steal its Thanksgiving thunder.

Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, got off to a solid start on Wednesday with an estimated $9.8 million. This is $2 million below Tangled, which brought in $48.7 million over the three-day back in 2010. However, I'm not sure that's the best title for comparison. The Good Dinosaur seems to be largely targeting young boys and, according to the reviews, plays more like a kid's film than previous Pixar features, which played not only to the young ones in the audience, but had more than enough entertainment for the adults as well. I'm not sure this really matters when it comes to this time of year, where family-driven entertainment is typically first choice. Keeping the adults entertained is one thing, but if it keeps the kiddos happy then you have a winner.

When it comes down to it, I expect Mockingjay and Good Dinosaur to come away with similar per theater averages. This means Mockingjay's theater count will likely make it the winner of the weekend with somewhere around $45 million compared to about $40.4 million for The Good Dinosaur, ending close to $60 million for the five-day.

Looking to finish third after an excellent $6 million start on Wednesday is director Ryan Coogler's Creed. Coogler reteams with his Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan in a continuation of the Rocky saga, this time focusing on the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) with Sylvester Stallone back as Rocky. I was able to catch the film last week and absolutely loved it and think it's going to play like gangbusters. I'm pegging it at $32.3 million for the three-day weekend and something around $44 million for the five-day, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it top $50 million and expect it to have long legs over the weeks to come.

The weekend's other new wide release is also likely to be the least impressive. I'm not sure why Fox decided Victor Frankenstein served as good, Thanksgiving counter-programming, but here it is nonetheless. Starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy I think the film looks like a fun, guilty pleasure, but this is the kind of film you open in January and February or perhaps that mid-October slot Dracula Untold utilized so well last year, and hope to strike gold, not amid the line-up it's facing off against this week. I'm giving it a shot at a $1,900 per theater average and a $5.3 million weekend, struggling to find a place in the top five.

An interesting title to attempt to predict is Spectre. The last three Bond films showed drops ranging from 13.6-29.5% on Thanksgiving weekend, but those were all in the second and third weekends of release while Spectre is now moving into its fourth weekend. As a result I'm going with a 38% drop and a $9.3 million weekend.

Opening in limited release and starting its hopeful Oscar run is The Danish Girl starring Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne while Spotlight, Brooklyn and Trumbo expand nationwide.

This week's three-day predictions are listed below.

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (4,175 theaters) - $45,173,500
  • The Good Dinosaur (3,749 theaters) - $40,489,200
  • Creed (3,404 theaters) - $32,338,000
  • Spectre (2,940 theaters) - $9,325,680
  • The Peanuts Movie (3,089 theaters) - $7,395,066
  • Victor Frankenstein (2,797 theaters) - $5,314,300
  • The Night Before (2,960 theaters) - $5,037,920
  • Secret in Their Eyes (2,392 theaters) - $3,126,344
  • Spotlight (897 theaters) - $2,466,750
  • Love the Coopers (2,603 theaters) - $2,150,078

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