“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” (Liongate) with $24.1 million on Black Friday grossed almost as much as the next three biggest films combined. But its three day holiday performance of $50 million is 25% below what series predecessor “Catching Fire” took in for the same period last year. This is the biggest factor in a disappointing a Wednesday to Friday 20% holiday shortfall over what is usually one of the highest-grossing periods of the year.
This hardly makes “Mockingjay” a failure — its eight-day gross is already $192 million, with its pre-weekend foreign haul even bigger.
“Hunger” does not carry the entire blame for the shortfall. Two family-oriented animated films placed second and third. Wednesday opener “Penguins of Madagascar” (DreamWorks/Fox) with $10.5 million and “Big Hero 6” (Disney/Buena Vista) with $7.7 million in its third week combined took in more than $8 million less than “Frozen” did on its opening Friday last year.
“Horrible Bosses 2” (Warner Bros.) also did its part to drag down the results; its fifth place showing of $6.2 million ($13.5 for three days) falls short of expectations. It lagged behind “Interstellar” (Paramount), which showed some strength in fourth with $6.6 million, which with a holiday boost jumped 50% from last Friday. “Dumb and Dumber To” (Universal) took sixth with $3.4 million (down about 25% from last week).
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Focus’ heavyweight awards contender “The Theory of Everything” blossomed as it jumped to 802 theaters for $1.9 million and seventh (it placed tenth last weekend in 140). “Gone Girl” (Fox) in its ninth week took in another $1 million in eighth. “Beyond the Lights” (Relativity) grossed just under $800,000 for ninth. “Birdman” (Fox Searchlight) added $735,000 in tenth place.
“The Imitation Game” (Weinstein) in only four New York/Los Angeles theater grossed a massive $181,000 for its first day for a per screen average of $45,250. That one day is higher than the first weekend PSA for fellow fall specialized entries “Whiplash,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Foxcatcher.” This looks headed towards a holiday-weekend boosted total that will end up over $100,000 (above “Birdman”‘s previous seasonal best) and second best platform opening for the year (behind “The Grand Budapest Hotel”).