With just one week left before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, this weekend was expected to be less than impressive. Warner Bros.' In the Heart of the Sea is the only new wide release, with most projections predicting it would make enough to unseat The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, which has won at the box office for three weeks in a row. Box Office Mojo reports that In the Heart of the Sea couldn't quite overtake The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, which won for the fourth weekend in a row with $11.3 million, just above In the Heart of the Sea's second place take with $11 million.
In the weekend before blockbusters such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World opened, the box office saw a significant downturn, as fans got ready for those highly-anticipated movies to hit theaters. It's no surprise that this weekend will not be any different, since Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to be one of the biggest movies this year. Last month, Star Wars: The Force Awakens already broke a box office record by taking in $50 million in advance ticket sales, shattering the record of $25 million by 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. There was speculation that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could reach upwards of $100 million in pre-sales before opening day, but no updated figures have been released.
In the Heart of the Sea is set in the winter of 1820, when the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville's Moby Dick, but that told only half the story. In the Heart of the Sea reveals the encounter's harrowing aftermath, as the ship's surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.
In the Heart of the Sea stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Cillian Murphy, Benjamin Walker, Charlotte Riley, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Frank Dillane, Michelle Fairley and Paul Anderson. Ron Howard directs this adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick's book, with Charles Leavitt, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver writing the screenplay adaptation. Even with the star power of Chris Hemsworth, In the Heart of the Sea, which cost an estimated $100 million to produce, is now set to sink at the box office after this lackluster opening.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2's $11.3 million take brings its domestic total to $244.6 million, with a worldwide total of $564.5 million. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 opened with $102 million, the lowest of all four films in the franchise. While we'll have to wait and see if it can surpass $300 million domestically, it seems like a long shot that it will surpass The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1's domestic total of $337.1 million. It's possible that these middling grosses could help put an end to the trend of studios splitting the final novel of a trilogy into a two-part movie, but we'll have to wait and see.
Holdovers The Good Dinosaur ($10.4 million) and Creed ($10.1 million) stayed put in third and fourth place, respectively, while Universal's Krampus, which performed better than expected last weekend, opening with $16 million, dropped from second place to fifth place with $8 million, rounding out the top 5. Krampus has already turned a profit, since it was produced for just $15 million, following 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.
Rounding out the top 10 is Spectre ($4 million), The Night Before ($3.9 million), The Peanuts Movie ($2.6 million), Spotlight ($2.5 million) and Brooklyn ($1.9 million). Universal's Legend, which features a critically-acclaimed dual role from Tom Hardy, was expected to expand nationwide this weekend, but it only added 46 theaters for 107 total, earning $301,000. The film opened November 20 in limited release, earning $86,836 from four theaters for a $21,709 per-screen average, but it's per-screen average has been dropping steadily since then, despite adding more theaters each week. Opening in limited release this weekend is Paramount's The Big Short, which took in an impressive $720,000 from eight theaters for a whopping $90,000 per-screen average. This financial drama is set to expand nationwide on December 23. GKIDS' The Boy and the World earned $6,968 from two theaters for a $3,484 per-screen average, although box office data wasn't released yet for Gravitas Ventures' Bleeding Heart, Lionsgate Premiere's Don Verdean and Freestyle Releasing's The Girl in the Book.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will finally hit theaters, alongside Universal's Sisters and 20th Century Fox's Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip. While it's somewhat unusual for a movie as big as Star Wars: The Force Awakens to have any competition whatsoever, both Sisters and Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip are aimed at very different demographics, but we'll have to wait and see how they perform against a behemoth like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Until then, take a look at the projections for the week of December 11 below.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:
|1||The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2|
|2||In the Heart of the Sea|
|3||The Good Dinosaur|
|7||The Night Before|
|8||The Peanuts Movie|