Box Office: ‘Mockingjay’ Eyes Third-Straight No. 1 Weekend

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” will show some of the only signs of a pulse in what is shaping up to be a bloodless weekend at the box office.

The latest chapter in Lionsgate’s futuristic franchise should make more than $20 million in its third weekend of release, which will be good enough for a first place finish. If projections hold, it will mark the third consecutive weekend in which “Mockingjay – Part 1” tops charts.

The Jennifer Lawrence starrer is approaching $500 million in worldwide sales.

Historically, box office receipts ice over during the weekend after Thanksgiving. Last year, the Christian Bale drama “Out of the Furnace” was the only major studio wide release. It flopped.

This year is looking leaner. There’s only one new release, “The Pyramid,” a found footage horror film from 20th Century Fox. The low-budget picture will debut in roughly 589 locations where it is expected to make $2 million.

“It’s the calm before the Christmas storm,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “It’s one of the worst weekends of the year to release a movie.”

The dearth of new releases will push the overall box office down sharply, but could help some of the holdovers. “Penguins of Madagascar” and “Big Hero 6” will continue to duke it out for the family dollar, picking up $13 million and $9 million, respectively.

“Horrible Bosses 2,” which stumbled out of the gate last week, earning roughly $10 million less than it was expected to make, should fall sharply. The R-rated comedy is on track to pull in around $7 million in its sophomore weekend. “Interstellar,” which continues to hold onto Imax screens until “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” debuts on Dec. 17, will keep bringing in Christopher Nolan fanboys, racking up roughly $7 million as well.

Open Road’s “Nightcrawler” will try to take advantage of the lack of competition. The twisty thriller is getting a 1,200 theater “re-release.” It was playing in approximately 550 locations last weekend.

There will be a number of arthouse releases this weekend, most notably, “Wild,” which kicked off in five theaters on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles before expanding to an additional five markets and 15 theaters by Friday, and “Still Alice,” which will have a one-week Oscar qualifying run. “Wild” star Reese Witherspoon and “Still Alice” star Julianne Moore are expected to be lead contenders for a best actress Academy Award.

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