Box Office: ‘Mockinjay, Pt. 2’ takes the Thanksgiving title but ‘Creed’ goes all 12 rounds

Plus: A rundown of all the awards season players in theaters

This year’s Thanksgiving weekend box office was more bountiful than 2014’s, but you have to believe some theater owners thought it could be bigger.  Perhaps the expectations for the second weekend of Jennifer Lawrence’s latest blockbuster and a new Pixar flick were a bit high.

The last installment of the “Hunger Games” franchise, “Mockingjay, Pt. 2,” took in an estimated $75.75 million over the five-day frame and has earned $198.3 million so far.  Those numbers would be incredible if you didn’t take into account the fact “Mockingjay, Pt. 1” had already earned $225 million at this juncture in its release last year.  Lionsgate still has a major moneymaker on its hands, but casual movie fans were clearly not as interested the fourth time around.

“The Good Dinosaur” sort of flew under everyone’s radar because of the impressive performance of “Creed” (more on that in a minute). The second Pixar release this year took in $55.5 million over the five-day which comparatively is Disney’s worst animated opening since “Ratatouille” in 2007 ($47 million over three days) and “The Princess and The Frog” went wide in 2009 ($24 million).  Considering the film is primarily aimed for young families and isn’t as broad as most Pixar releases that’s a good, but not great result. Plus, Disney’s animated standard is so high these days their competitors at DreamWorks Animation or Blue Sky would be popping champagne bottles over what will should end up being a $150 million or so tally domestically.

The big news, of course, was Warner Bros., New Line and MGM’s “Creed.”  With $42.6 million over five days and, like “Dinosaur,” an A Cinemascore, Ryan Coogler’s “Rocky” spin-off is well on its way to $100 million plus stateside as well as revitalizing a long dormant franchise.  “Creed” ahad far and away the smallest Friday to Saturday drop of any film in the top five off just .6% so no one would be surprised if “Creed” overperformed its Sunday estimate.

The Thanksgiving frame also means there are more awards seasons players in theaters than any other weekend so far this year (“The Danish Girl” is the latest release to join the Oscar fray).  So, let’s take a quick look at where all those films are faring at the box office as well.

1. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 2” $51,600,000 – 4,175 theaters – $12,359 per – $198,312,341 (cume) – 2nd wk
$27 million behind where “Mockingjay, Pt. 1” was at this point in its release a year ago.

2. “The Good Dinosaur” $39,192,000 – 3,749 theaters – $10,454 per –     $55,565,000 (cume) – Opening
Slightly less impactful than “Big Hero 6’s” $56.2 million over just three days last year, but that A Cinemascope means it has a shot at $185 million plus domestic.

3. “Creed” $30,120,000 – 3,404 – theaters – $8,848 per – $42,600,000 (cume) – Opening
Stallone’s biggest weekend since “The Expendables” earned $34.8 million in 2010.

4. “Spectre” $12,800,000 – 2,940 theaters – $4,354 per – $176,056,967 (cume) – 4th wkd    
Mixed reaction aside should still hit $200 million domestic which proves just how popular Daniel Craig still is as 007.

5. “The Peanuts Movie” $9,700,000 – 3,089 theaters – $3,140 per – $116,757,472 (cume) – 4th wkd   
Not the “Ice Age” monster hit Fox was hoping for.  Needs strong global grosses to make up its reported $99 million production budget.


8. “Spotlight” $4,495,290 – 897 theaters – $5,011 per – $12,347,179 (cume) – 4th wkd
Strong results as it expanded slightly sooner than you might have thought.  Golden Globe and SAG nominations will keep the per screen up through Dec.

9. “Brooklyn” $3,832,000 – 845 theaters – $4,535 per – $7,289,949 (cume) – 4th wkd     
Everything you read for “Spotlight” is just as applicable here.

10. “The Martian” $3,300,000 – 1,420 theaters – $2,324 per – $218,640,849 (cume) – 9th wkd
Won’t match “Gravity’s” $274 million domestic gross, but the most universally liked film in the Best Picture race…so far.

11. “Victor Frankenstein” $2,350,000 – 2,797 theaters – $840 per –     $3,435,000 (cume) – Opening    
One of the biggest wide release bombs of the year. Why 20th Century Fox didn’t push this to January or next August is head scratching. It looked bad when it was previewed for theater owners at CinemaCon last April.

13. “Turbo” $1,534,005 – 617 theaters – $2,486 per – $2,576,259 (cume) – 4th wkd    
Assuming it keeps enough screens it should earn at least $7 million which is certainly more than some other awards season also rans.

14. “Bridge of Spies”  $1,376,000 – 635 theaters – $2,167 per – $67,561,276 (cume) – 7th wkd
Surprisingly won’t match “War Horse’s” $79.8 million.  A victim of too much adult fare in the marketplace this fall.

18. “Room” $311,500 – 175 theaters – $1,780 per – $3,398,163 (cume) – 7th wkd    Unlike some other Oscar players A24 has avoided going wide until the year-end awards begin to put a bigger spotlight on Brie Larson’s performance and the film itself.

20. “Suffragette” $250,000 – 217 theaters – $1,152 per – $4,054,730 (cume) 6th wkd
Focus will lose theaters on his one soon, but it should still squeak by $5 million domestic.

21. “Carol” $203,076 – 4 theaters – $50,769 per – $588,325 (cume) 2nd wkd   
Very impressive second weekend hold. The Weinstein Company will smartly continue to milk art house audiences as long as possible before going close to nationwide.

22. “The Danish Girl” $185,000 – 4 theaters – $46,250 per – $185,000 (cume) – Opening
Considering the somewhat mixed reviews and the competitive art house marketplace a great start for the Focus Features release.

23. “Sicario” $160,000 – 113 theaters – $1,416 per – $46,080,954 (cume) – 11th wkd
Lionsgate has had a mixed year but they aren’t getting enough credit for this solid hit. If Benicia Del Toro starts getting more awards recognition it may happen.

29. “Steve Jobs” $49,500 – 66 theaters – $750 per – $17,704,843 (cume) – 8th wkd     
A case study for not expanding too quickly that other studios will near from for years.

30. “Truth” $35,053 – 28 theaters – $1,252 per – $2,441,665 (cume) – 7th wkd
In hindsight Sony Classics probably would have had more success releasing this in the spring after Blanchett earned another Oscar nod for “Carol.”

Did you see “The Danish Girl” or “Creed” this weekend?  Share your thoughts below.

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.

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