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Friday Box Office: ‘Mockingjay’ Holds on Par with ‘Catching Fire,’ ‘Wild’ Joins Award Mix

Friday Box Office: 'Mockingjay' Holds on Par with 'Catching Fire,' 'Wild' Joins Award Mix

The Top Ten for yesterday came in at a meager $18.8 million, down 15% from the same Friday last year, and extending into November the recurrent shortfall that is once again the pattern.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” (Lionsgate) easily retained the top spot for the day and will for the weekend, taking in $6.6 million. That is down 73% from last Friday (which was the strongest day of a five-day holiday weekend). This is a better hold (by a slim margin) than last year’s “Catching Fire” showed (down 75%, though from a higher level), indicating that “Mockingjay” actually has better word-of-mouth than commonly assumed. It has already totaled $243 million (compared to $317 million for “Fire” at the exact same point).

“Horrible Bosses 2” (Warner Bros.) fell 56% for the day with $2.7 million at second place, though with matinees ahead it should fall another slot for the three days. This actually isn’t a bad drop post-holiday, which suggests the film has a bit more strength than it appeared initially, benefiting from the lack of fresh product.

The two competing animated entries, “Penguins of Madagascar” (20th Century Fox) with $2.4 million and “Big Hero 6” (Buena Vista) with $1.8 in third and fifth places respectively had combined grosses a third less than “Frozen” alone did last year in its second wide weekend. That blockbuster jumped over “Catching Fire” to take the top spot for the post-Thanksgiving slot.

“Interstellar” (Paramount) placed fourth with $2.2 million, with “Hero” nipping at its heels with two matinee days ahead. Assuming that the studio is able to hold on to enough prime screens through the upcoming holidays, its total of $153 million so far suggests that Christopher Nolan’s film will get far closer to $200 million domestically than seemed likely after opening weekend.

Placing sixth through ninth were “Dumb and Dumber To” (Warner Bros.) at $1.2 million, “The Theory of Everything” (Focus) at $775,000 (still at only 826 theaters), “The Pyramid” (20th Century Fox) at $458,000 in only 589 theaters for its initial release and “Gone Girl” (20th Century Fox) in its tenth week still drawing $431,000.

Tenth place for now is a virtual tie among three films around $310,000 – “Nightcrawler” (Open Road — this doubled its screen count), “Birdman” (Fox Searchlight) and “St. Vincent” (Weinstein). It will likely take Monday actuals to sort out who wins that race.

“Wild” (Fox Searchlight) was the sole new entry among major awards contenders (apart from several one-week qualifiers in Los Angeles and/or New York, most of which will not be reporting figures). It debuted in 21 theaters in several major cities with a gross of $165,000. Though not equal to some other recent post-Thanksgiving limited openings, it is still a strong start (the per screen average is $7,857) considering the date and its somewhat older, more female appeal. (This weekend is not normally a promising one for that demo.)

Meantime, “The Imitation Game” (Weinstein) added four theaters in the Los Angeles area to gross $108,000 ion eight total screens for the day compared to $181,000 in four last weekend. That’s a 40% fall from the holiday-goosed opening last weekend—interesting that, in 2010, TWC’s “The King’s Speech” went to six screens from four its second Friday, and fell only 28% despite having two fewer runs.

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