Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Mockingjay stays on top - Limited-release films impress

Published:Monday | December 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The rebellion against Capitol begins in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1'. - Contributed
The greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz set out to save the world in 'Penguins of Madagascar'. - contributed - Contributed
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LOS ANGELES (AP):

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 continues to dominate the domestic box office, but awards season hopefuls 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.

Deficit

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."

Reese
Witherspoon

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 estimated 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).