The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has had no trouble taking down its competitors during its first two weekends at the box office. The franchise finale opened in the top spot with $101 million, although that tally was the lowest debut of all four movies in the blockbuster franchise, and it took in $51.6 million over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, beating out Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, Warner Bros.' Creed and 20th Century Fox's Victor Frankenstein. While it is expected to drop significantly again in its third frame in theaters, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will end up on top once again, overtaking this weekend's only new release, the holiday horror-thriller Krampus, according to the projections at Pro.BoxOffice.com.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is expected to take in an estimated $24.7 million over the weekend of December 4, with Pixar's The Good Dinosaur ($20.3 million) and Creed ($17.5 million) expected to remain in second and third places respectively. Krampus is projected to open in fourth place, with an estimated $14.5 million. There aren't any reviews posted for Krampus on Rotten Tomatoes quite yet, so we'll have to wait and see how the nation's critics receive this thriller, which opens in approximately 2,800 theaters nationwide this weekend.
Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, which opened in 3,749 theaters last weekend, is already a hit with the nation's critics, earning an impressive 86% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is still faring well with critics, with a 71% Fresh rating, but its predecessors have all dropped more than 50% on their opening weekend, which isn't a surprise since blockbusters like this are normally front-loaded. While The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 did have the lowest opening weekend in franchise history, its second weekend drop of 49.7% was also the smallest decrease of the four films, which could mean it will have more staying power than its predecessors, and it could earn even more in its third weekend, but we'll have to wait and see.
Creed, a spinoff of the Rocky franchise, is also a hit with critics, taking in an astounding 93% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan's performances already being hailed as Oscar-worthy by some critics. Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), whose father Apollo Creed died before he was born, heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed's legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa. Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer. Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo-the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring.
While the holiday season represents the most magical time of year, ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast who punishes naughty children at Christmastime. When dysfunctional family squabbling causes young Max (Emjay Anthony) to lose his festive spirit, it unleashes the wrath of the fearsome demon. As Krampus lays siege to the Engel home, mom (Toni Collette), pop (Adam Scott), sister (Stefania Owen) and brother must band together to save one another from a monstrous fate. The supporting cast includes Allison Tolman and David Koechner, with Michael Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat) directing. Spectre is expected to round out the top 5 this weekend with $8.4 million.
Rounding out the top 10 will be The Peanuts Movie ($5.3 million), The Night Before ($4.8 million), Secret in Their Eyes ($3 million), Spotlight ($2.8 million) and Brooklyn ($2 million). After a stellar opening in limited release, it isn't known if there are plans for expansion for The Weinstein Company's The Danish Girl, another awards season contender starring Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander and Amber Heard. The drama, based on an incredible true story, took in $185,000 from four theaters, for an impressive $46,250 per-screen average.
The Danish Girl is inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has canceled, and would he mind slipping into a pair of women's shoes and stockings for a few moments so she can finish the painting on time. "Of course," he answers. "Anything at all." With that, one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the twentieth century begins. When their portraits become wildly popular in 1920s Copenhagen, Greta encouraged her husband to adopt the female guise. What began as a harmless game led Einer to a metamorphosis and landmark 1931 operation that shocked the world and threatened their love.
Opening in limited release are Spike Lee's Chi-Raq, Amplify's Christmas Eve, Cohen Media Group's Hitchcock/Truffaut, Sony Pictures Classics' The Lady in the Van, Freestyle Releasing's The Letters, Cinedigm's Life, The Weinstein Company's Macbeth, Saban Films' Mi-5, Atlas Distribution's A Royal Night Out, Drafthouse Films' The World of Kanako and Fox Searchlight's Youth. The Letters will actually open in roughly 1,000 theaters, so it's possible that a strong showing could vault it into the top 10, but we'll have to wait and see. Several of these films, such as Youth, have been getting Oscar buzz lately, so we'll have to wait and see how audiences respond in limited release.
Looking forward to next weekend, Warner Bros.' In the Heart of the Sea is the only movie opening in wide release, but there are also another slate of potential awards season candidates arriving in limited release. Paramount will release The Big Short, starring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell on December 11, with a nationwide expansion planned for December 23. Lionsgate will also roll out Don Verdean, starring Sam Rockwell and Amy Ryan, along with Gravitas Ventures' Bleeding Heart, GKIDS' The Boy and the World, Broad Green Pictures' The Dark Horse and Broad Green Pictures' The Girl in the Book. Universal will also expand Legend, starring Tom Hardy, nationwide on December 11. Check back on Sunday for the box office estimates, but until then, take a look at our predictions for the weekend of December 4.
PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: