Box Office: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Has $56 Million Feast Over Thanksgiving Holidays

Would you trust these guys with handling a kidnapping?

This time last year the number one movie in theaters during Thanksgiving weekend was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second installment in the Hunger Games franchise. So it’s no surprise that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I released just one week ago would repeat as number one. But the difference in earnings is staggering. Comparatively, Catching Fire‘s performance after two weeks is $296.2 million domestic, while Mockingjay is only $225.6 million. The latest installment of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy of novels may have recorded the highest opening of 2014, but its lukewarm reception among critics, and the poor decision of splitting up the novel into two films made for a disjointed movie-watching experience.

There were two major releases during the Thanksgiving holidays. We had Penguins of Madagascar, a spin-off of the Madagascar movies starring Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, yep, the penguins from those Madagascar movies. It scored at $25.8M weekend. Considering that Universal has the Minions movie coming out next summer, you can bet the executives will look at Penguins performance in the coming weeks as a measuring stick. Disney’s Big Hero 6 continues to be a juggernaut as far as family entertainment goes. Its drop in attendance was only 6.7%. Couple that with a $18.7M three-day haul and $167M after four weeks and you get the sense that the Mickey Mouse house is thinking having a sequel readied by 2016/2017.

According to Box Office Mojo, Horrible Bosses tops the list of all-time earners in the dark comedy subgenre. Its sequel, arriving 3 and 1/2 years later, earned $23M in its first five days of release (Horrible Bosses had $28.3M its opening weekend). Poor reviews among critics and viewers alike didn’t help its chances. Neither did Warner Bros. poor marketing. Seriously, you can’t get much traction from a TV spot about misspelling the word “Kidnapping.” The comedy’s opening is a fraction of what Dumb and Dumber To did a few weeks back. After three weeks the Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels/Farrelly Bros. cash grab has made $72.2 million.

The more interesting stories of the top 10 are near the bottom. Focus Features’ The Theory of Everything expanded from 140 screens to 802 locations to jump from tenth place to seventh place at the box office. The Oscar hopeful has made $9.6 million in four weeks. David Fincher’s Gone Girl has become a stalwart of box office conversation. Not only is it a critical and financial success, its longevity in cinemas is remarkable. It has been in theaters for nine weeks and it is still in the top 10! Fox Searchlight’s Birdman lost screens but still maintained the ninth position with $1.8M. Rounding out the top 10 is The Weinstein Company’s St. Vincent. It has made $39.3M in eight weeks.

Outside of the top 10 the big story was the release of The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Opening on four screens, it finished the weekend with $482k (a $120.5k per-screen average). Another Oscar hopeful, Foxcatcher expanded to 72 screens and earned a little more than $1M to bring its overall total to $2.1M. IFC Midnight release The Babadook, a horror flick from the country of Australia, opened on three screens and collected $27k.

01. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – $56.8M ($226.6M)
02. Penguins of Madagascar – $25.8M ($36M)
03. Big Hero 6 – $18.7M ($167.2M)
04. Interstellar – $15.8M ($147M)
05. Horrible Bosses 2 – $15.7M ($23M)
06. Dumb and Dumber To – $8.29M ($72.2M)
07. The Theory of Everything – $5M ($9.6M)
08. Gone Girl – $2.47M ($160.7M)
09. Birdman – $1.88M ($17.2M)
10. St. Vincent – $1.77M ($39.3M)

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