The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 turned out to be the clear winner at the Thanksgiving box office, earning an estimated $56.1 million this weekend and $75.7 million for the five-day holiday frame. With a new domestic total of $198.3 million, the film is still 12% behind where Mockingjay – Part 1 stood at this time last year, but at least the final Hunger Games feature avoided the ignominy of falling to second in its sophomore frame. All previous Hunger Games films have spent at least two consecutive weekends on top of the box office, with 2012’s The Hunger Games dominating for four.
After last weekend’s opening came in well below expectations, there was good reason to believe that Mockingjay 2 could be beat by Thanksgiving’s most prominent new release, The Good Dinosaur. But Part 2 is looking neither frontloaded nor played out as a franchise. The film was down just 49.7% from last weekend: a better sophomore hold than any previous Hunger Games feature. Catching Fire and Mockingjay 1 both fell more than 53% in their second frames, while The Hunger Games saw a steeper 61% drop. Mockingjay 2 also saw stronger weekday numbers than expected, which is helping close the gap between it and its direct predecessor.
In terms of the top Thanksgiving weekends, The Hunger Games series now claims three of the top ten releases of all time. That includes the all-time Thanksgiving champ, Catching Fire, which set the record with $74.1 million in 2013. Mockingjay 1 is fifth on the all-time Thanksgiving list with $56.9 million and third for the five-day holiday frame. This morning’s estimate puts Mockingjay 2 at number eight on the Thanksgiving weekend chart.
Meanwhile, The Good Dinosaur had to settle for second place. The sixteenth Pixar feature earned an estimated $39.19 this weekend, or a total of $55.5 million since opening on Wednesday. This marks just the second time that a Pixar movie in wide release has not topped the box office. You may recall that this summer’s Inside Out also failed to dominate on its opening weekend, though it rebounded in its third frame to take the title from Jurassic World. This morning’s estimate also marks the lowest debut for a Pixar feature in wide release since A Bug’s Life, which earned $33.2 million on Thanksgiving weekend back in 1998.
It may go without saying, but most box office analysts expected The Good Dinosaur to open higher. Not only is Pixar one of the most reliable box office ‘brands,’ this particular film’s family appeal should have resulted in at least $45 million for the three-day weekend. Just last month The Peanuts Movie debuted with $44.2 million and (even more surprising) received better reviews than the latest from Pixar – a perennial critic’s darling. The Good Dinosaur has a current Rotten Tomato rating of 77%, compared to the 86% of Peanuts and the 98% of Inside Out. The good news for Pixar is that CinemaScore audiences gave The Good Dinosaur an ‘A,’ so there is every reason to believe that the film will find its legs in time for The Force Awakens to come along and render all other movies extinct.
The Thanksgiving release that did manage to top expectations was Creed. The latest iteration of the Rocky franchise earned an estimated $30.1 million from 3,404 locations, easily topping its $25 million pre-release projection. Even more impressive, Creed scored the tenth highest three-day Thanksgiving opening of all-time, and who saw that coming? The film received an ‘A’ from CinemaScore audiences and an excellent 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which should help it continue to find audiences in the weeks to come.
Thanksgiving’s final new release managed to set a new box office record, though not one that any studio would covet. Fox’s Victor Frankenstein has claimed the lowest domestic opening of all-time for a film in at least 2,500 venues. From its 2,797 locations, the PG-13 drama starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy earned an estimated $2.35 million this weekend. That’s way off the film’s modest $10 million target and makes Victor Frankenstein second only to Jem and the Holograms on this year’s list of worst openings in at least 2,000 locations.
Here’s the weekend top ten, based on studio estimates:
|1.||The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2||$51,600,000||$198.3|
|2.||The Good Dinosaur||$39,192,000||$55.5|
|5.||The Peanuts Movie||$9,700,000||$116.7|
|6.||The Night Before||$8,200,000||$24.1|
|7.||The Secret in Their Eyes||$4,502,000||$18|