Box Office: 'Mockingjay' Easily Wins Turkey Trot With Huge $82.7M

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Still 1 - H 2014
Courtesy of Lionsgate

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Still 1 - H 2014

The holiday wasn't kind to 'Horrible Bosses 2' and 'Penguins of Madagascar'; 'The Imitation Game' opens to eye-popping numbers in Los Angeles and New York

Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 was the easy victor at the otherwise soft Thanksgiving box office, earning $82.7 million to score the third-best gross of all time for the five-day holiday, not accounting for inflation. The penultimate installment in the YA film franchise has now earned $225.7 million in North America and $480 million worldwide.

Domestically, however, Mockingjay continues to trail well behind last year's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which finished Thanksgiving with $296.3 million in North American ticket sales.

Still, the only two films to earn more over Thanksgiving were Catching Fire ($110 million) and Frozen ($93 million). Mockingjay's $82.7 million haul included a three-day weekend take of $56.9 million.

New entries Penguins of Madagascar and R-rated comedy Horrible Bosses 2 both did less business than expected after opening Wednesday, helping to explain why overall revenue was down more than 20 percent from last Thanksgiving. Horrible Bosses 2 in particular came in well behind projections, although it sports a relatively modest production budget of $40 million.

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From DreamWorks Animation and Fox, Penguins placed No. 2 with $36 million for the five days, one of the lowest numbers for an animated film opening over Thanksgiving, not accounting for inflation, although it did best DreamWorks' ill-fated Rise of the Guardians ($32.3 million). That includes a weekend take of $25.8 million.

Penguins' opening isn't good news for Jeffrey Katzenberg's company, and the film will need strong legs. It did earn an A- CinemaScore, which could help fuel word of mouth, or at least that's the hope.

Overseas, Penguins took in another $36 million from 44 markets for an early foreign total of $63 million and worldwide cume of $99 million. The spinoff opened two weeks ago in China, where it has earned a sturdy $33 million.

The $132 million family film, a spinoff of the 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

Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson raised the possibility that Penguins' showing on Thanksgiving Day itself was dampened by major retailers beginning Black Friday on Thursday night. "We always do a postmortem on our openings and we will study what impact Black Friday, or really, Black Thursday, had on our box office."

Making life undeniably difficult for Penguins was Disney holdover Big Hero 6, which continued to prosper in its fourth weekend, grossing roughly $26 million for the five days to come in No. 3. Big Hero 6 has now earned $167.2 million domestically and $224.1 million worldwide.

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From New Line and Warner Bros., Horrible Bosses 2 grossed $23 million for the five days to come in No. 4. For the weekend itself, the sequel took in $15.7 million, putting it at No. 5 just behind Interstellar. The first Horrible Bosses opened to $28.2 million on its way to earning a stellar $209.6 million worldwide.

The sequel earned a B+ CinemaScore. Warners domestic distribution president Dan Fellman said he was disappointed, but noted that moviegoers under the age of 25 gave the film an A- CinemaScore. "Next weekend, there are no wide releases, and hopefully, my young male audience will snap to," he said.

Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Horrible Bosses 2 would gross $35 million or more, while Penguins was expected to take in between $40 million and $45 million.

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.

Rounding out the top five, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar earned $22 million for the five days for a North American total of $147.1 million.

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As awards season heats up, there was 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 Cumberbatch, did huge business, earning $482,000 for a location average of $120,500, the second-best showing of the year after The Grand Budapest Hotel ($220,000).

Focus Features' Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything moved up to No. 7 as it expanded nationwide into a total of 802 theaters, grossing $5.1 million for the weekend and $6.4 million for the five days for a domestic total of $9.6 million.

Birdman, now in its eighth weekend, remained in the top 10, earning $1.9 million for the three days and $2.4 for the five days for a domestic total of $17.2 million.

Here are the estimated top 10 films for the Thanksgiving holiday at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Three Day/Five Day, Cume

1. Mockingjay — Part 1, 2/4,151, Lionsgate, $56.9 million/$82.7 million, $225.7 million

2. Penguins of Madagascar, 1/3,764, Fox/DWA, $25.8 million/$36 million

3. Big Hero 6, 4/3,365, Disney, $18.8 million/26 million, $167.2 million

4. Horrible Bosses 2, 1/3,375, Warner Bros./New Line, $15.7 million/$23 million

5. Interstellar, 4/3,066, Paramount/Warner Bros., $15.8 million/$22 million, $147.1 million

6. Dumb and Dumber To, 3/3,130, Universal/Red Granite, $8.3 million/$11.6 million, $72.2 million

7. The Theory of Everything, 4/802, Focus Features, $5.1 million/$6.4 million, $9.6 million

8. Gone Girl, 9/1,174, Fox/New Regency, $2.3 million/$3.3 million, $160.8 million

9. Birdman, 8/710, Fox Searchlight/New Regency, $1.9 million/$2.4 million, $17.2 million

10. St. Vincent, 9/1,256, The Weinstein Co., $1.8 million/$2.3 million, $39.3 million