Box Office: 'Hunger Games' Wins Thanksgiving With $75.8M; 'Good Dinosaur,' 'Creed' Solid Seconds
Holiday revenue is up sharply from 2014 despite 'Victor Frankenstein' being a turkey; 'Carol' beats the debut of 'The Danish Girl' at the specialty box office.
Katniss Everdeen, a lovable dinosaur and an aging Rocky Balboa made for an appetizing feast at the Thanksgiving box office, where revenue was up sharply from last year.
As expected, holdover The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 dominated overall in its second outing, earning $75.8 million for the Wednesday-Sunday holiday stretch. The final installment in Lionsgate's YA film franchise continues to pace behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, which earned $82.7 million over Thanksgiving in 2014, but is still pulling in huge numbers.
Mockingjay 2 also dominated overseas, grossing another $62 million for a foreign tally of $242.4 million and global total of $440.7 million through Sunday. Coming in second offshore was Ridley Scott's The Martian, thanks to a late run in China, where the space epic opened to $50.1 million for a global total of $545.1 million.
The Good Dinosaur and Rocky reboot Creed played a big part in fueling the holiday box-office boom in North America, even if Good Dinosaur marks one of the lowest starts for a Pixar title. The only turkey was Victor Frankenstein, which quickly bombed. The trio of new films opened Wednesday, with overall revenue for the five-day stretch hitting an estimated $256 million, up 12 percent from last year.
The Good Dinosaur debuted to $56 million from 3,749 locations for the five days, the fourth best Thanksgiving launch of all time. Still, tracking had suggested the animated tentpole would cross $60 million. The Pixar/Disney release, boasting an A CinemaScore, earned $39.2 million for the three-day weekend. Families made up 80 percent of ticket buyers, followed by adults (17 percent) and teens (4 percent).
Overseas, Good Dinosaur opened to a promising $28.7 million from 39 markets for a global bow of $84 million. The U.K. led with $4.3 million, followed by Mexico ($3.6 million) and France ($3.2 million).
"With this start, buoyed by great critical and consumer response, we're in a fantastic place to play throughout Christmas," said Disney distribution president Dave Hollis, adding that there will be enough room for both Good Dinosaur and Disney/Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens Dec. 18. He also noted that every Pixar movie has earned some variation of an A CinemaScore.
Costing between $175 million and $200 million to produce, Good Dinosaur marks the first time Pixar has ever released two films in the same year. In June, Inside Out opened to a rousing $90.4 million after earning $3.7 million in Thursday-night previews.
Disney has made a habit of launching animated fare over the Thanksgiving holiday. In 2013, Disney Animation Studios' Frozen debuted to $93.6 million, the biggest five-day Thanksgiving opening of all time.
MGM and New Line's Creed, boasting rave reviews and an A CinemaScore, outperformed expectations in opening to an estimated $42.6 million from 3,284 theaters for the five days, including a three-day weekend gross of $30.1 million. The $35 million movie — a Rocky reboot of sorts starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone — is a needed win for Warner Bros., parent company of New Line.
Reuniting up-and-coming director Ryan Coogler with his Fruitvale Station leading man (Jordan), Creed stars Stallone as the aging Rocky Balboa, who agrees to train the son of Apollo Creed, played by Jordan.
Creed played heavily male (66 percent), with 62 percent of the audience over the age of 25. Caucasians made up 38 percent of the audience, followed by African-Americans (30 percent) and Hispanics (20 percent), according to Rentrak exit polls.
"It played very broadly, which is what we need for long legs," said Jeff Goldstein, Warners executive vp domestic distribution. "Ryan Coogler just brought out the best in these actors. Everyone loves an underdog story."
The holiday's third new movie, Paul McGuigan's Victor Frankenstein, couldn't even crack the top 10 after receiving a C CinemaScore. Revisiting the classic story from the perspective of Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), the $40 million Fox movie placed No. 12 with a dismal five-day gross of $3.4 million from 2,797 theaters, including a three-day take of $2.4 million. It's the latest 2015 title to post one of the worst openings of all time for a major studio release.
Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy as Dr. Frankenstein, was supposed to open in October 2014, then in January. It was moved a final time to Thanksgiving. The film is faring better overseas, opening to a solid $10 million from 24 markets, including $2 million in Russia.
New offerings at the Thanksgiving specialty box office in the U.S. included Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl, starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Opening Friday, Danish Girl debuted to $181,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a solid location average of $45,221. From Focus Features, the movie skewed female (58 percent), while 67 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 40.
That wasn't enough to best Todd Haynes' Carol, however. In its second weekend, Carol took in a $203,076 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles for a theater average of $50,769 and cume of $588,355 for The Weinstein Co.
Among other awards contenders, Brooklyn expanded nationwide over Thanksgiving, earning a pleasing $4.9 million from 845 theaters for the five days to place No. 9. Spotlight stayed at No. 8 as it upped its theater count from 598 to 897 locations, grossing $5.7 million for the five days for a cume of $12.3 million.
Nov. 29, 10 a.m. Updated with foreign numbers.