Of course it’s a no brainer that “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” (what is it with these long movie titles?) and Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” would do well at the box office this Thanksgiving holiday period. But how would Ryan Coogler’s continuation of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” saga, “Creed,” do up against them? In true Rocky fashion, it was the underdog against the bigger dogs.
But before we get into that, overall, box office figures were up 14% from Thanksgiving season last year, and it should be no surprise that “Mockingjay” was again No. 1 this weekend with $51.6 million. That was a significant drop-off from last week’s $102 million opening, which was itself considered a disappointment, since it was the lowest opening for any of the previous “Hunger Games” movies. Only in the bizarroland that is Hollywood can a film make over $100 million in three days and be considered a disappointment. And with just under $200 million total in 10 days, in the U.S., and over $440 million to date, worldwide, why should anyone be crying?
Pixar’s “The Good Dinsoaur,” which marks the first time that Pixar has released two films in the same year, as expected, opened well, coming in second place.with $55 million. No doubt it’s a relief for Pixar since “Dinosaur” was plagued with production problems, from having the film delayed for almost two years, to replacing the original director, and extensive script revisions which changed the entire original plotline of the film.
To get to “Creed,” the news is very good indeed. Two weeks ago, there actually wasn’t a lot of buzz about the film, despite a pretty effective trailer that got people interested in it. However, Warners was being very mysterious with its pre-release events, specifically with regards to showing the film in advance to the media. Though there were advance screenings around the country, some with star Michael B. Jordan and Coogler in attendance, for the most part, the media was not invited to see the film until just a few days before it opened.
Now that kind of behavior usually is a sign that the studio has a bad movie on their hands, but not in this case. Warners has definitely nothing to worry about since, not only has the film deservedly gotten some rave reviews, with some calling it one of the best films of the year, and fantastic word of mouth from film-goers, “Creed” is now being considered as a serious Oscar contender in several categories. In fact, some are predicting that Stallone is near guaranteed a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for his performance.
So why the strange pre-release handling of the film by Warners? There have been truly awful films that studios have pumped up and promoted to the media before their release, so why try to seemingly hide a good one? The only thing I can come up with is that Warners was afraid of “Creed” being seen as “black” film, and therefore emphasized the Rocky connection more and kept the film from the black media especially, at least not until it was closer to its release. God forbid audiences would think that it was a movie with a whole bunch of black people in it, and so a movie only for black people. We can’t have that now, can we?
However, despite the industry stigma that usually comes with films that have starring black casts, and black directors and writer(s), it did extremely well at the box office, even beating out most predictions which pegged it to do $27-30 million over this holiday weekend. “Creed” ended up grossing around $42.6 million.
That makes it the first film in months for Warners that actually made solid coin in its opening weekend, after a string of 8 or 9 flops in a row. “Creed” is already set to easily hit $110 million gross domestically and even beyond that. It’ll be the first Warners film to that since “San Andreas” back in May. Maybe Warners needs to make more movies with black people in them.
But of course there have to be losers this weekend as well, and that is what Fox’s “who-was-asking-for it?” horror film “Victor Frankenstein” was. The non-scary PG-13 CGI orgy starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, came in 12th place, grossing only $3.4 million, making it, according to box office analyst Erik Childress, the worst opening for any Fox movie since 1987 – nearly 30 years ago. All of this means that if you really want to see the movie, do it now because it’s not going to be around by Friday.
As for the leftovers, “Spectre” came in fourth with $12.8 million, and has now earned over $700 million worldwide so far. But the Seth Rogen comedy “The Night Before” is fading fast. I guess his crude, frat boy doper type of comedy is wearing thin at last. “The Peanuts Movie” is still holding up pretty strong with its nostalgic appeal for older film-goers.
Meanwhile the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal investigative drama, “Spotlight,” released by Open Road, is doing extremely well in its still limited opening, grossing $12 million to date, on less than 900 screens.
1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 LGF $51,600,000 Total: $198,312,341
2) The Good Dinosaur BV $39,192,000 Total: $55,565,000
3) Creed WB $30,120,000 Total: $42,600,000
4) Spectre Sony $12,800,000 Total: $176,056,967
5) The Peanuts Movie Fox $9,700,000 Total: $116,757,472
6) The Night Before Sony $8,200,000 Total: $24,102,536
7) The Secret in their Eyes STX $4,502,000 – Total: $14,031,039
8) Spotlight ORF $4,495,290 Total: $12,347,179
9) Brooklyn FoxS $3,832,000 Total: $7,289,949
10) The Martian Fox $3,300,000 Total: $218,640,849
11) Love the Coopers CBS $3,050,000 -Total: $20,486,372 –
12) Victor Frankenstein Fox $2,350,000 Total: $3,435,000