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Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Off to Healthy Holiday Start With $14.6 Million

“The Hunger Games” has become a veritable “Turkey Day” tradition.

Katniss Everdeen set new standards for gorging when “Catching Fire” became the highest-grossing Thanksgiving release ever. This year, “Mockingjay – Part 1” is also feasting on the holiday box office, earning $14.6 million on Wednesday to kick off a five day bonanza, according to estimates. The film’s domestic box office to date stands at $157.6 million. Globally, the film has earned roughly $350 million.

There’s healthy competition around the Thanksgiving table. DreamWorks Animation is trying to rope in family audiences eager to get out of the house with “Penguins of Madagascar,” which drew $6.3 million Wednesday in 3,750 theaters. The spin-off of the “Madagascar” franchise cost $132 million to make and is expected to rack up between $42 million to $44 million for the five days through Sunday.

For older moviegoers eager for some R-rated laughs, New Line is fielding “Horrible Bosses 2.” The black comedy picked up $4.2 million on Wednesday, including $1 million in Tuesday night showings. It should draw roughly $35 million for the Wednesday-Sunday period.

“Horrible Bosses” cost $43 million to produce. It debuted on 3,321 locations on Wednesday and expands to 3,375 on Friday.

Disney’s “Big Hero 6” capitalized on the school holiday, picking up $4.2 million on Wednesday. The animated adventure has earned $145.4 million domestically since bowing in theaters three weeks ago. “Interstellar,” is expected to continue to draw crowds and should benefit from its Imax release — the wide screen format has committed its theaters to Christopher Nolan’s latest epic until “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” debuts on Dec. 17.

“Mockingjay – Part 1” is expected to make north of $80 million for the five-day period. A sterling number but short of the $109.9 million that “Catching Fire” put up last year over the same time frame. There’s also the lack of a “Frozen.” The animated phenomenon earned $93.5 million last Thanksgiving, becoming the holiday’s second highest grossing film of all time.

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