Box Office: Thanksgiving Holiday Moviegoing Plummets

'Penguins of Madagascar,' 'Horrible Bosses 2'

One success story among new openings is awards contender 'The Imitation Game'

New family entry Penguins of Madagascar and R-rated comedy Horrible Bosses 2 continue to do less business than expected at the Thanksgiving box office, where revenue is down sharply from last year.

Both films opened Wednesday, and are now looking at five-day debuts in the $37 million and $23 million range, respectively. Heading into the long holiday weekend, Penguins was hoping for as much as $45 million, while Horrible Bosses 2 was banking on $35 million or more.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 was always expected to rule the Thanksgiving roost and is indeed dominating the show. The Lionsgate film took in an outstanding $24.1 million on Black Friday for a projected five-day gross of $82 million. That would put Mockingjay's domestic total north of $225 million (the film has already jumped the $400 million mark worldwide).

Overall revenue for the holiday is expected to be down by more than 20 percent from last year, when The Hunger Games: Catching Fire took in $110 million over the five-day stretch and Disney's Frozen collected more than $93 million, making for one of the strongest Thanksgivings on record.

Mockingjay is certainly no slouch, and scored the third-best Black Friday gross ever after Catching Fire ($31.6 million) and Frozen ($26.8 million).

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Penguins, a spinoff of DreamWorks Animation's popular Madagascar franchise, is directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith. The voice cast includes John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom McGrath, Christopher Knights, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Peter Stormare, Ken Jeong and Annet Mahendru. The spinoff earned an A- CinemaScore.

The animated film, which cost $132 million to produce, grossed $10.5 million on Friday.

Disney holdover Big Hero 6 is certainly making life difficult for Penguins, and placed No. 3 Friday with $7.7 million. Big Hero 6 could earn north of $26 million for the five days, a stellar showing considering the animated tentpole is in its fifth weekend.

From New Line and Warner Bros., Horrible Bosses 2 earned $6.2 million Friday. That put the comedy, costing $40 million to make, at No. 5 behind holdover Interstellar ($6.5 million). The first Horrible Bosses opened to $28.2 million on its way to earning a stellar $209.6 million worldwide.

Directed this time out by Sean Anders, Horrible Bosses 2 reteams most of the original cast, including Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, whose characters set out to start their own business, only to be swindled. Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Kevin Spacey also star.

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As awards season heats up, there's a slew of offerings for adults at the specialty box office, including director Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, which The Weinstein Co. debuted Friday in New York and Los Angeles. The biopic, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is on course to score the second best location average of the year ($122,000) and earned an A+ CinemaScore from moviegoers.

And Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything is holding at No. 7 after expanding into a total of 802 theaters on Wednesday. From Focus Features, the film earned $1.9 million Friday for a projected five-day gross of $6.3 million, putting its early domestic total at roughly $9 million.

Other awards contenders in the marketplace include holdovers Birdman, Foxcatcher, Whiplash and Boyhood.

Nov. 29, 7:45 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.

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