Mockingjay stays on top
LOS ANGELES (AP):
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 continues to dominate the domestic box office, but awards season hopefulls Wild and The Imitation Game proved their might with impressive limited release showings on this sleepy post-Thanksgiving weekend.
In its third weekend in release Mockingjay - Part 1 earned an estimated US$21.6 million. Lionsgate's penultimate chapter in the massively successful franchise has now earned US$257.7 million domestically.
And yet, even though Mockingjay - Part 1 is on track to become the second-highest grossing movie of the year by mid-week, it's still about US$78 million shy of where the previous installment, Catching Fire, was in its third weekend just last year.
For Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker Rentrak, this deficit is only of concern for the overall box office, which is down 4.6 per cent for the year. "We are nearing the finish line for 2014 and that is a lot of ground to make up. But, luckily, we have some big movies on the way," he says of Into the Woods, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Annie, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Unbroken.
While audiences wait for that fresh fare, some still turned out to catch up with the leftovers. DreamWorks Animation's Penguins of Madagascar took second place with US$11.1 million in its second weekend, while the raunchy Warner Bros comedy Horrible Bosses 2 claimed third place with US$48.6 million. The fourth and fifth place spots went to Disney's animated Big Hero 6 and Paramount's space odyssey Interstellar, which earned US$8.13 million and US$8.0 million, respectively.
The Pyramid, Fox's R-rated horror film, just barely cracked the top 10 in its debut weekend with a less than stellar US$1.35 million from 589 locations.
"It's one of those status quo, boring weekends. But it's not boring in the specialised or indie world," Dergarabedian said. "For me, that's where the excitement is."
Wild, a Fox Searchlight release starring Reese Witherspoon, opened in 21 cinemas on Wednesday, earning an estimated US$630,000 over three days for a strong US$30,000 average per cinema. The Oscar-winning actress has been getting lots of buzz for her soul-searching turn in the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's bestseller.
The biggest success story of the weekend is The Weinstein Company's Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, which took in an estimated US$402,000 from eight locations for a stunning US$50,250 average per cinema. Star Benedict Cumberbatch is also expected to be a major contender on the awards circuit this season.
As Dergarabedian puts it: "People wanted to see what the fuss was about and went out in pretty big numbers."
Following are eestimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at United States and Canadian cinemas, according to Rentrak.
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (US$21.6 million).
2. Penguins of Madagascar (US$11.1 million).
3. Horrible Bosses 2 (US$8.6 million).
4. Big Hero 6 (US$8.13 million).
5. Interstellar (US$8.0 million).
6. Dumb and Dumber To (US$4.17 million).
7. The Theory of Everything (US$2.67 million).
8. Gone Girl (US$1.5 million).
9. The Pyramid (US$1.35 million).
10. Birdman (US$1.15 million).