×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Tops Post-Thanksgiving Dead Zone With $21.6 Million

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” held onto its box office crown for a third straight week, picking up $21.6 million, but it wasn’t much of a triumph for the hit sequel.

Ticket sales for the weekend were anemic, falling 19% from the previous year as studios decided to hold their fire for the Christmas holiday instead of introducing any major new releases. Twentieth Century Fox toyed with counterprogramming by releasing  “The Pyramid” in 589 theaters, but the found-footage horror film eked out only $1.3 million.

After three weeks, “Mockingjay – Part 1” has earned $257.7 million domestically.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally a glacial one for the movie business, and this one was slow even by those low standards. Year to date, the box office is roughly 4.6% behind 2013, so Hollywood needs upcoming releases such as “Exodus: Gods & Kings,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” and “Top Five” to deliver in a big way if it wants to make up lost ground.

“This was not the kind of box office weekend you write home about,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “We really need some help and we need it fast.”

Without much in the way of competition, DreamWorks Animation’s “Penguins of Madagascar” secured second place on the chart, picking up $11.1 million and driving its total to $49.6 million. Given its high $135 million production cost, the animated spinoff of the “Madagascar” franchise is still something of a disappointment.

In third place, “Horrible Bosses 2” dropped a slender 44% to earn $8.6 million, bringing its total to $36.1 million after two weeks. Disney’s “Big Hero 6” has emerged as one of the fall’s biggest hits, nabbing $8.1 million in its fourth week. It has made $177.5 million Stateside since debuting at the beginning of November.

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” has also shown impressive legs, picking up $8 million and pushing its domestic total to $158.7 million. The space adventure has performed better internationally than it has in the U.S., earning more than 70% of its revenue overseas.

In the specialty realm, Fox Searchlight’s “Wild,” which is receiving strong buzz for Reese Witherspoon, earned $630,000 from 21 theaters for a per-screen average of $30,000. The story of an emotionally damaged woman who goes on a grueling walkabout is appealing to people who might not otherwise go to an arthouse film but are drawn to the uplifting message and author Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir.

“It connects with a lot of people because Reese Witherspoon is playing a real person on a real journey with real things happening to her that are similar to what people face in real life,” said Frank Rodriguez, Fox Searchlight’s distribution chief.

“Wild” will expand to roughly seven cities and should be in 90 to 100 theaters by next weekend. It will hit approximately 800 theaters by Christmas, Rodriguez said.

Among other Oscar contenders, “Whiplash” earned $351,474 on 175 screens, and has so far made $4.4 million, while “Foxcatcher” snared $574,727 on 75 screens, bringing its take to $2.8 million.

In its second week of release, “The Imitation Game” made $401,570, bringing its total to almost $1 million. It had the weekend’s highest per-screen average with $50,196 and the second best second weekend of the year based on per-screen average. The Weinstein Company is releasing the biopic about code breaker Alan Turing, and distribution chief Erik Lomis reports that the audience is getting younger, with 40% under the age of 35 as opposed to 32% the previous weekend.

“We feel like the picture is poised to break out,” he said. “But we’re going to go slow and handle it very deliberately.”

It will expand to between 30 and 35 theaters and be in six markets next weekend.

“The Theory of Everything,” another prime candidate for best picture, brought in $2.7 million, pushing its total to $13.6 million. In short, it was a good weekend to back a film about a tortured genius.

More Film

  • Bill Skarsgard and Eliza Scanlen

    'It' Star Bill Skarsgard and 'Sharp Objects' Actress Eliza Scanlen Join Netflix's 'The Devil All the Time' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “It” star Bill Skarsgard and “Sharp Objects” breakout Eliza Scanlen will star in Antonio Campos’ adaptation of “The Devil All the Time,” which Netflix has officially acquired for distribution. Skarsgard and Scanlen join an all-star cast that includes Tom Holland, Chris Evans, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert, who attached themselves [...]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    How Writer-Crew Collaborations Are Changing the Script for the Creative Process

    In traditional filmmaking, once a script is written, the director and department heads break it down and figure out the costs and logistics of production. But if the screenwriter collaborates during the creative process with key crew members, the entire production can benefit.  Such collaboration offers the prospect of help on many fronts. For example, [...]

  • FICG TV Pitchbox Confirms Fox, Alazraki,

    FICG TV Pitchbox Swells Key Company Attendance

    Fox Networks Group Latin America (FNGLA), Alazraki Films, EndemolShine Boomdog and Fabula have confirmed their attendance at the inaugural FICG TV Pitchbox, the new co-production market of one of Latin America’s biggest film events, Mexico’s Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG). They join previously announced participants HBO Latin America and Turner Latin America (FNGLA). More attendees, [...]

  • Alamode Acquires Lone Scherfig’s ‘The Kindness

    Alamode Acquires Lone Scherfig’s Berlin Opener ‘The Kindness of Strangers’

    Munich-based Alamode has taken German and Austrian rights to Lone Scherfig’s “The Kindness of Strangers,” ahead of the picture’s opening-night gala screening at the Berlin Film Festival next month. Alamode acquired the rights from London-based HanWay Films, which is handling worldwide sales. Entertainment One is distributing the film in Canada and SF Studios in Scandinavia. [...]

  • Voltage Pictures to Produce Airborne Thriller

    Voltage Pictures to Produce Airborne Thriller 'Blackwing' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Voltage Pictures will produce and fully finance screenwriter David Loughery’s latest thriller “Blackwing,” Variety has learned exclusively. The company will introduce “Blackwing” to buyers at the upcoming European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, which opens Feb. 7. Nicolas Chartier and Dominic Rustam are producing, and Jonathan Deckter is executive producing for Voltage Pictures. [...]

  • ‘Metro Exodus’ Opens Up Post-Apocalyptic Russia

    ‘Metro Exodus’ Author On Film, Possible TV Series, Expansive New Game

    Since the launch of the post-apocalyptic survival first-person shooter “Metro 2033” in 2010, the series has kept its action confined to the tunnels running underneath Russia. “Metro Exodus,” due out next month, takes the gameplay to the surface for the first time, going above ground with sprawling levels against a changing backdrop of weather conditions [...]

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Picture Tree describes the movie as a “contemporary female-led drama touching on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content