Box-Office Thanksgiving Preview: 'Good Dinosaur' Takes On 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay'
'Victor Frankenstein' and 'Creed' also open nationwide, while Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' launches at the specialty box office.
Hollywood studios and theater owners are hoping for a filling Thanksgiving feast to close out an otherwise tough fall season at the box office.
The holiday brings three new entries, all opening Wednesday: Pixar and Disney's The Good Dinosaur; Creed, a Rocky reboot of sorts teaming Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone; and the long-delayed Victor Frankenstein, starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy.
Of the new films, The Good Dinosaur has the strongest shot of challenging the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 for the No. 1 spot. The animated family film is tracking to open to $60 million-plus for the Wednesday through Sunday stretch.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, opening the weekend before Thanksgiving to $121.9 million, went on to earn $82.7 million for the five-day Thanksgiving stretch (Wednesday through Sunday), putting it at number one.
However Mockingjay – Part 2 opened notably behind the last title, with an estimated $101 million, meaning it will likely do less over Thanksgiving.
Disney has made it a habit of launching animated fare over the holidays. In 2013, Disney Animation Studios' Frozen debuted to a dazzling $93.6 million, the biggest five-day Thanksgiving opening of all time. One exception was last year, when DreamWorks Animation claimed the holiday with Penguins of Madagascar, which opened to a disappointing $35.4 million for the five days.
Together with this summer's Inside Out, Good Dinosaur marks the first time Pixar has ever released two films in one year. Pixar never discloses budgets, but the company's films cost $175 million to $200 million to produce, on average.
MGM and New Line's Creed, reuniting up-and-coming director Ryan Coogler with his Fruitvale Station leading man Michael B. Jordan, is tracking to open in the $30 million-plus for the five-days. Warner Bros. is handling the release of the movie, which stars Sylvester Stallone as the aging Rocky Balboa, who agrees to train the son of Apollo Creed, played by Jordan. The $35 million film has garnered strong reviews since premiering at the 2015 Film Fest.
The holiday forecast isn't great for filmmaker Paul McGuigan's Victor Frankenstein, which revisits the classic story from the perspective of Igor (Daniel Radcliffe). From Fox, the $40 million film may have trouble earning much more than $12 million for the five days.
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.
Landing at the specialty box office is Tom Hooper's awards contender The Danish Girl, which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles. The biographical drama from Focus Features stars Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, the transgender artist who was one of the earliest recipients of sex reassignment surgery.