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Weekend Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving Gives the Box Office Indigestion

December 2nd, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 poster

Thanksgiving weekend was... well, it wasn't good. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 easily won the race for top spot and actually topped expectations by a tiny margin. On the other hand, the two new releases, Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2, both really struggled. Neither managed to top their three-day prediction over the five-day long weekend. Overall, the three-day weekend fell 17% to $162 million from last weekend. Worse still, this was 22% lower than the same weekend last year. 2014 is now behind 2013 by a margin of $370 million or 3.9% at $9.20 billion to $9.58 billion. There's no way we will catch up by the end of the year. I just hope we don't fall further behind.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 fell 53% during its sophomore stint for a three-day total of $56.97 million over the weekend $82.67 million and a running tally of $225.68 million. By comparison, Catching Fire also fell 53% during its Thanksgiving sophomore weekend, but had pulled in $296.30 million by this point in its run. If Mockingjay, Part 1 continues to match its predecessor's legs, it will finish with $323 million, which won't be enough for first place for the year. Can Guardians of the Galaxy really become the biggest hit of the year?

Penguins of Madagascar struggled with just $25.45 million / $35.44 million during the Thanksgiving weekend. This is not a terrible result, but it is by far the weakest in the franchise so far and a mere fraction of its $132 million production budget. It did earn good reviews, so maybe its legs will be long. However, unless it manages to still be in wide release on Christmas Day, there's little hope it will match its production budget domestically. On the other hand, the previous Madagascar movie, Europe's Most Wanted, earned more than $500 million internationally, so even if Penguins only manages half of that, it will break even early in its home market debut.

Big Hero 6 grabbed third place with $18.82 million over the three-day weekend for a Thanksgiving haul of $26.02 million. This matched predictions (nearly) perfectly. It is also nearly identical to what Wreck-It Ralph pulled in during its Thanksgiving weekend, so as long as Big Hero 6 doesn't take a big dip next weekend, it will remain on pace for $200 million.

Interstellar beat expectations with $15.74 million / $21.96 million over the weekend for a total of $147.04 million after four weeks of release. Its theater count is falling, but this will help its final box office potential rise. It still won't hit $200 million domestically, but $175 million is a solid target.

Comedy sequels rarely work out and Horrible Bosses 2 is just the latest such example. It only managed fifth place with $15.46 million over the three-day weekend for a total opening of $22.77 million after five days of release. Its reviews slipped to just 33% positive, which will likely result in short legs. There is some good news. It likely didn't cost a lot to make, so it might still break even sometime on the home market.

One last note: The Equalizer reached the century mark over the weekend, barely, and now sits at $100.01 million after 66 days of release. It became the 28th film released in 2014 to get to that milestone and there are several December releases that should top it. However, last year there were 35 $100 million hits, so this is disappointing.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Equalizer, Interstellar, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Penguins of Madagascar, Big Hero 6, Horrible Bosses 2, Madagascar