By Daniel Garris
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 comfortably remained in first place this weekend with an estimated three-day take of $56.88 million. The third installment of Lionsgate's blockbuster franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence took in an estimated $82.69 million over the five-day frame. Mockingjay - Part 1 was down a very reasonable 53 percent from last weekend. In comparison, last year's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire fell 53 percent in its second weekend to gross $74.18 million. Mockingjay - Part 1 zoomed past the $200 million mark this weekend and has grossed $225.69 million in ten days. While Mockingjay - Part 1 is already the seventh highest grossing domestic release of 2014 so far, the film is running a significant 24 percent behind the $296.29 million ten-day take of Catching Fire.
Penguins of Madagascar placed in a distant second with an estimated $25.8 million over the three-day frame. The 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation has grossed an estimated $36.0 million in its first five days, which is below pre-release expectations. Compared to previous Thanksgiving family releases, Penguins of Madagascar opened 11 percent ahead of the $32.34 million five-day start of 2012's Rise of the Guardians and 13 percent below the $41.52 million five-day start of 2012's The Muppets. Penguins of Madagascar is set to mark another underwhelming domestic performer for DreamWorks Animation; as it joins the likes of 2012's Rise of the Guardians, 2013's Turbo and to a lesser extent this year's Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Penguins of Madagascar received an A- rating on CinemaScore.
Horrible Bosses 2 was off to an even softer start this weekend with an estimated $15.7 million fifth place take over the three-day frame. The comedy sequel from Warner Bros. took in an estimated $23.01 million over the five-day frame, which was well below expectations (which had already been scaled back a bit due in part to the film's poor critical reviews). Horrible Bosses 2 opened 36 percent behind the $36.13 million five-day start of 2011's Horrible Bosses (which opened on a Friday) and 50 percent behind the $46.05 million five-day Thanksgiving start of 2008's Four Christmases. Horrible Bosses 2 was clearly hurt by its poor reviews, though the film may be going over a bit better with moviegoers, as it received a respectable B+ rating on CinemaScore.
The combined performances of Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2 this weekend argue very strongly that moviegoers continue to have sequel fatigue in 2014.
Thanks in part to the softer than expected starts of both Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2, Disney's Big Hero 6 and Paramount's Interstellar both held up very nicely this weekend. Big Hero 6 placed in third for the weekend with an estimated $18.77 million, which was down a very slim 7 percent from last weekend. The 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios took in an estimated $26.01 million over the five-day frame. Big Hero 6 has grossed $167.21 million through 24 days of release. That places the film 12 percent ahead of the $149.28 million 24-day take of 2012's Wreck-It Ralph.
Interstellar claimed fourth place over the weekend with an estimated $15.8 million. The Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film was up a terrific 3 percent over last weekend. Interstellar took in an estimated $22.01 million over the five-day frame and has grossed $147.09 million through 24 days of release. While Interstellar continues to perform below expectations, the film is displaying very solid holding power, due in part to good word of mouth, continued IMAX grosses and from skewing heavily towards older moviegoers.
Universal's Dumb and Dumber To took sixth place with an estimated $8.3 million over the three-day frame. Despite the poorer than expected performance of Horrible Bosses 2, Dumb and Dumber To still took a hit this weekend, as it was down a sharp 41 percent from last weekend. Dumb and Dumber To took in an estimated $11.6 million over the five-day frame and has grossed a solid $72.21 million in 17 days.
The Theory of Everything had a very promising expansion this weekend with an estimated $5.08 million over the three-day weekend. That placed the awards season hopeful from Focus in seventh place among all films this weekend. The Theory of Everything earned a per-location average of $6,337 from 802 locations. The film has grossed $9.60 million in 24 days and should continue to hold up well going forward.
Fellow awards season hopeful The Imitation Game was off to a very strong start this weekend with an estimated $482,071 from 4 locations in New York and Los Angeles. The Weinstein Company drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch generated a massive per-location average of $120,518 for the frame. That represents the second largest per-location average for platform releases thus far in 2014 (behind only The Grand Budapest Hotel). The Imitation Game looks to be in store for a lengthy box office run throughout the awards season.
By Shawn Robbins
Please note that most grosses for Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28 are studio estimates and that not all studios are currently reporting due to the holiday weekend. Complete actuals will be reported on Monday, December 1.
Lionsgate reports The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 added $24.1 million on Black Friday, bringing its 8-day domestic haul to $192.7 million. Although pacing 24 percent behind its predecessor, the penultimate franchise chapter is on pace to easily win its second consecutive weekend. BoxOffice projects $56.6 million 3-day and $81.9 million 5-day frames.
Fox/DreamWorks' Penguins of Madagascar pulled another $10.5 million in second place yesterday, giving the animated spin-off $20.7 million in the bank through three days of release. Early word of mouth is decent for the target audience, generating a 74 percent Flixster user score so far. The flick is trending 16 percent ahead of the most recent Thanksgiving release from DreamWorks, Rise of the Guardians. BoxOffice projects 3-day and 5-day openings of $26.9 million and $37.1 million, respectively.
Disney's Big Hero 6 moved back into the top three on Friday with $7.74 million. The toon has amassed $156.2 million to-date, 12 percent more than Wreck-It Ralph through the same point. Look for respective 3-day / 5-day numbers around $19.4 million / $26.6 million.
Moving up one spot to fourth place yesterday was Interstellar. Paramount reports the Christopher Nolan epic added $6.6 million to its domestic haul, giving it $137.9 million to-date. BoxOffice projects $15.9 million for the 3-day weekend and $22.1 million for the 5-day.
Rounding out the top five on Black Friday, Horrible Bosses 2 continued to under-perform as it fell two spots and earned $6.2 million. The comedy sequel has earned $13.5 million since opening Wednesday and is off the pace of its predecessor by 52 percent. Unfortunately, with a 36 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and 64 percent Flixster score, the pic's long-term prospects aren't encouraging. BoxOffice is projecting $15.5 million for the 3-day weekend and $22.8 million for the overall 5-day opening.
In limited release, Focus Features' The Theory of Everything took in a solid $1.93 million yesterday. That brings the Stephen Hawking biopic up to $6.4 million domestically as it prepares to ride a wave of great buzz through the holiday and awards season. BoxOffice projects $5.1 million and $6.55 million for the 3-day and 5-day frames, respectively.
Last, but not least, TWC's The Imitation Game got off to an excellent start in its 4-theater debut yesterday. The Alan Turing biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch bagged $181,130 to begin its platform release--netting a stellar per-theater average of $45,283 in just one day. That bests the 4-location Black Friday opening of 2011's The Artist by a whopping 140 percent, while also eclipsing Birdman's $135,602 4-location opening day in October. Genre-wise, a noteworthy comparison is 2001's A Beautiful Mind--it earned $108,163 from 11 theaters ($9,833 per location) on opening day (however, the eventual 2001 Best Picture Oscar-winner opened four days before Christmas that year). Regardless, The Imitation Game is well-poised to enjoy a long holiday run thanks to fantastic awards buzz and early word of mouth. BoxOffice projects the film will net around $480,000 this weekend.
The projected weekend top 10 is:
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 ($56.3 million 3-day / $81.9 million 5-day)
2. Penguins of Madagascar ($26.9 million 3-day / $37.1 million 5-day)
3. Big Hero 6 ($19.4 million / $26.6 million)
4. Interstellar ($15.9 million / $22.1 million)
5. Horrible Bosses 2 ($15.5 million / $22.8 million)
6. Dumb and Dumber To ($8.4 million / $11.7 million)
7. The Theory of Everything ($5.1 million / $6.45 million)
8. Gone Girl ($2.3 million / $3.1 million)
9. Birdman ($1.86 million / $2.4 million)
10. St. Vincent ($1.85 million / $2.4 million)