Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Mockingjay’ Crushes Thanksgiving Weekend

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Appropriately, the Thanksgiving holiday box office was all about the leftovers. While two high profile new releases struggled to open, films from the past few weeks continued to do solid business. In fact, this was one of the most varied weekends at the box office in quite some time, with YA adaptations, animated family movies, epic blockbusters, and small independent films all performing better than expected.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 $56,875,000 (-53.3) $13,702 $225,693,000
2 Penguins of Madagascar $25,800,000 $6,854 $36,000,000
3 Big Hero 6 $18,770,000 (-6.7) $5,578 $167,209,000
4 Interstellar $15,800,000 (+3.0) $5,153 $147,090,000
5 Horrible Bosses 2 $15,700,000
$4,652 $23,010,000
6 Dumb and Dumber to $8,295,000 (-41.1) $2,650 $72,205,000
7 The Theory of Everything $5,082,000 (+236.2) $6,337 $9,604,000
8 Gone Girl $2,470,000 (-12.9) $2,104 $160,757,000
9 Birdman $1,880,000 (+1.4) $2,648 $17,237,000
10 St. Vincent $1,773,000 (-21.2) $1,412 $39,327,000

It should come as no surprise that ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ held onto the number one spot, grossing $56 million for a two-week total of $225 million. For those keeping track, that puts it within $100 million of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ the current box office champion of 2014. If Francis Lawrence’s sequel has the legs of its predecessors, it should be able to easily top Marvel’s space opera. However, this entry has been slightly more sluggish than the last film. At this rate, $300 million feels like a sure thing, but your guess is as good as ours when it comes to whether or not it can crawl to $400 million.

The continued success of ‘The Hunger Games’ series came at the expense of ‘The Penguins of Madagascar’ and ‘Horrible Bosses 2,’ both of which opened far below expectations. The former will march out of the holiday weekend with $36 million, which is the kind of number DreamWorks Animation was probably hoping to see on a single day. The latter did okay for an R-rated comedy on a weekend dominated by family fare, but it’s disappointing when you consider the surprise success of the first film. Both could show some stamina in the weeks ahead (especially the tyke-friendly ‘Penguins of Madagascar’), but no one is particularly happy with those numbers.

Fortunately, the rest of the top 10 was solid. In third and fourth place, ‘Big Hero 6’ and ‘Interstellar’ continued to do reliable business, with the latter actually seeing a small increase over last weekend. With grosses of $167 million and $147 million respectively, both films are continuing the long, hard march to $200 million and if they can stay this strong for the next month, they’ll both make it for sure.

In sixth place, ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ made a worthy $8 million, bringing its total gross to $72 million. In eighth place, the ever-strong ‘Gone Girl’ hit $160 million. However, the real victory in the back half of the top 10 belongs to ‘The Theory of Everything,’ which expanded its theater count and saw a 236% increase in business. That’s a $5 million weekend, which is a stellar number for a small biopic that has relied entirely on awards buzz to get its name out there. ‘Birdman’ and ‘St. Vincent’ also performed exceptionally well for small films, which means that a full third of this week’s top 10 were independent films. Toss in ‘The Imitation Game’ performing well in four theaters outside of the top 10 and you have a very interesting week for movie grosses.

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