By Daniel Garris
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 took in $22.03 million this weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The third installment of Lionsgate's blockbuster franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence was down 61 percent from last weekend's three-day frame. That represented a slightly better third weekend percentage hold than that of last year's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which fell 65 percent in its third weekend to gross $26.19 million. Mockingjay - Part 1 is the first film to lead the weekend box office since Guardians of the Galaxy did so earlier this year. Mockingjay - Part 1 has grossed $258.15 million through 17 days of release. That places the film 23 percent behind the $335.85 million 17-day take of Catching Fire.
Penguins of Madagascar grossed $10.91 million to remain in second. The 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation was down 57 percent from last weekend. It is commonplace for non-holiday family films to drop off significantly the weekend after Thanksgiving, due in part to family attendance traditionally increasing over Thanksgiving weekend. Penguins of Madagascar has grossed $49.39 million through twelve days of release. That is below pre-release expectations and places the film 12 percent behind the $56.36 million twelve-day takeoff 2011's The Muppets (which fell 62 percent in its second weekend to gross $11.08 million).
Warner's Horrible Bosses 2 was up two spots from last weekend to claim third place with $8.42 million. The R-rated comedy sequel was down 46 percent from last weekend. That represented one of this weekend's stronger percentage holds, as the film's Thanksgiving weekend performance was clearly deflated a bit. With that said, Horrible Bosses 2 is still performing well below pre-release expectations with a lackluster twelve-day start of just $35.89 million. Horrible Bosses 2 is running a disappointing 45 percent behind the $65.67 million twelve-day take of 2011's Horrible Bosses.
Big Hero 6 placed in fourth with $8.04 million. The successful 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios was down 57 percent. Big Hero 6 has grossed $177.46 million in 31 days. That places the film 12 percent ahead of the $158.18 million 31-day take of Wreck-It Ralph. Big Hero 6 is still in good shape to eventually surpass the $200 million domestic mark, especially with the Christmas and New Year's holidays still ahead of it.
Paramount's Interstellar rounded out the weekend's top five with $7.79 million. The Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film fell 51 percent. Interstellar continues to run below expectations domestically with $158.45 million after 31 days of wide release. The film has held up nicely thus far, but it will soon begin to face more direct competition from both Fox's Exodus: Gods and Kings and Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Meanwhile, Fox's The Pyramid was off to a soft ninth place start this weekend with $1.37 million. The writing was on the wall for the low-budget horror film after it was released in just 589 locations this weekend. Fox clearly has its attention already focused on the release of Exodus: Gods and Kings this coming Friday.
Fox Searchlight's Wild was off to a far more promising start with $606,810 this weekend from 21 locations. That gave the drama starring Reese Witherspoon a per-location average of $28,896 for the frame. After an additional two days of release (in 5 locations), Wild has grossed $654,058 through five days.
Elsewhere in platform release, The Weinstein Company's The Imitation Game remained strong with $389,260 from 8 locations. The awards season hopeful starring Benedict Cumberbatch claimed a healthy per-location average of $48,658 for the frame. The Imitation Game has grossed $1.00 million in ten days of platform release and will continue to expand into new locations on Friday.