There are plenty of box-office naysayers out there, but the fact remains that once again we’ve experienced a dip. The domestic box-office top 12 was soft and grossed approximately $155.6 million in total this weekend, but that’s down 20% from last year when the last “Hunger Games” movie was in theaters. Not surprisingly, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” took the number one spot at the holiday weekend, grossing a very healthy $56.8 million, but the picture fell 53.3% and that’s around 23% below where ‘Catching Fire’ was in week two. Still, the picture has grossed $225 million domestically in two weeks of release (‘Catching Fire’ was at $290m).
But like we said last week, the true test is international, and ‘The Hunger Games’ is finally taking over overseas. Foreign grosses only overtook domestic grosses on the series for the last few weeks of ‘Catching Fire’s global run. Flash forward a year later and foreign grosses of ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ have already overtaken the movie domestically in its second week. That takes the third part of the series to $480 million in two weeks of release, a rather astonishing figure. At this rate it seems like ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ can likely outgross the $440 million that ‘Catching Fire’ accumulated in 2013, but whether it can match the $864 million ‘Catching Fire’ did globally seems doubtful since ‘Mockingjay’ is underperforming at home. And most box-office pundits have already predicted it will fall short of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” and its #1 domestic gross of $331 million.
The weekend’s two new titles, “Penguins of Madagascar” and “Horrible Bosses 2,” were both fairly big disappointments. “Penguins of Madagascar” grossed $36 million over the five-day holiday weekend, but if you compare that to the last two “Madagascar” films, that’s way off. None of the three “Madagascar” films have opened to less than $45 million and the last two haven’t opened to anything less than $60 million. Not so good news for Paramount and DreamWorks Animation. Warner Bros.’ “Horrible Bosses 2” got what it deserved. It was met with scathing reviews (including ours). The picture could only open to $15.7 million, that’s down 47% from the original film in 2011.
“Big Hero 6” is still holding on with a vengeance. The Disney-animated tooner only fell 6.7% and grossed $18.7 million in its fourth week of release. Coming in at #3, clearly kids were still interested and that box-office cume surely took a big bite of out of Dreamworks’ ‘Penguins’ totals. Likewise, “Interstellar” is holding on strong and was actually up 3% this weekend; obviously audiences that hadn’t caught up with the film yet decided to do so over Thanksgiving. Even at this strong hold, with the Oscar onslaught coming on it’s unclear if “Interstellar” will reach the $200 million mark at home, but it probably can and if the movie does get nominated for some Academy Awards — still a distinct possibility— it could soar higher. Meanwhile, internationally, the movie continues to ascend with firey bluster. It will cross $400 million in foreign grosses next week and currently stands at $542 million worldwide. The film will cross $700 million trajectory which will put it within the year’s top 5 grosses worldwide (it’s already the ninth-highest grossing film of 2014 worldwide).
The awards-bait Oscar dramas are crashing the party and pretty much dominating the bottom half of the box-office top 10. “The Theory of Everything” and “Birdman” keep expanding in theaters and keep climbing up the charts. ‘Theory’ added 662 theaters this weekend and therefore jumped 236% for a healthy $5.08 million gross in its fourth week. “Birdman” actually dropped 152 theaters, but still rose in grosses by 1.4%. “St. Vincent,” which has been one of the best indie performers of 2014, bar, say “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is finally starting to show some signs of fatigue, but it’s grossed almost 40 million in eight weeks so The Weinstein Company is doing something right.
After nine weeks of release Sony’s “Gone Girl” finally fell out of the box-office top 5 and the drama/thriller has had a phenomenal run. It is now David Fincher’s highest grossing film ever both domestically and worldwide and stands at $334 million.
The biggest story of the weekend however was probably in the limited release field. The Weinstein Company’s other Oscar draw, “The Imitation Game,” had an outstanding opening weekend. Released on only four screens. The movie grossed $482,000 for a whopping $120,500 per screen average. And that breaks serious records; it’s the 2nd highest per screen average of 2014 and the 6th highest of all time. The box-office may be stumbling at home, but it’s heartening to know that three of the films in the top 6 per-screen-average field came out in 2014. Sony Pictures Classics’ “Foxcatcher” also had a good limited release weekend. The movie added 48 theaters for a total of 72 and jumped 117%. The movie has cracked the $1 million mark as well. Incidentally, 25 years ago, the box-office was ruled by “Back To The Future II” which was set in 2015.
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1— $56.8 million ($225.6M)
2. Penguins of Madagascar — $25.8 million ($36M)
3. Big Hero 6 — $18.7 million ($167.2M)
4. Interstellar — $15.8 million ($147M)
5. Horrible Bosses 2 — $15.7 million ($23M)
6. Dumb and Dumber To — $8.2 million ($72.2M)
7. The Theory of Everything — $5.082 million ($9.6M)
8. Gone Girl — $2.4 million ($160.7M)
9. Birdman — $1,880,000 ($17.2M)
10. St. Vincent —$1,773,000 ($39.3M)