Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” flew to a powerful $14.5 million on Wednesday at the pre-Thanksgiving box office to lift its six-day domestic total to $158 million.
The Jennifer Lawrence franchise outdistanced a solid debut from Fox/DreamWorks’ “The Penguins of Madagascar,” which drew $7 million Wednesday — signaling a total in the $42 million to $44 million range for the five days through Sunday.
New Line’s launch of “Horrible Bosses 2” also turned in a decent showing on Wednesday in the $5 million range, including $1 million in Tuesday night showings. The R-rated comedy sequel is projected to take in about $35 million for the Wednesday-Sunday Thanksgiving holiday period.
The original “Horrible Bosses” opened in July, 2011, with $28.3 million on its way to $117 million in the U.S. and $209.6 million worldwide.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been a historically strong day for moviegoing with “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” taking in an impressive $20 million on the day last year. This year’s totals may have been held down due to freezing weather in the East.
Despite being down roughly 25% from “Catching Fire,” and $80 million holiday weekend domestic total for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” — in line with forecasts — would leave the film at about $220 million in the U.S. for its first 10 days, or more than halfway to the $425 million final cume for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” At $220 million, it would be the seventh highest domestic grosser this year and be two-thirds of the way to topping Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” as the top U.S. performer at $331 million.
Overseas, “Mockingjay” is also turning in an impressive performance and should hit around $195 million internationally — topping the total of last year’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at the same point. “Catching Fire” wound up with $440 million internationally.
“Penguins of Madagascar,” DreamWorks Animation’s spin-off from its successful “Madagascar” series, did not offer Tuesday night showings. Forecasts have been in the $45 million to $47 million range for the five-day holiday in 3,750 theaters.
“Horrible Bosses 2 brings back the trio of Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jason Bateman along with Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey. It debuts in 3,321 locations on Wednesday and expands to 3,375 on Friday.