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Weekend Box Office: Charitable moviegoers “save” Mockingjay

Because America loves an underdog, the country banded together this holiday weekend to help boost the revenues of that little blockbuster that could, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1. After its “disappointing” debut of “just” $123 million, this penultimate chapter of the YA series seemed destined for the indignity of not making more money than every other movie released in 2014. But moviegoers dug deep, emptying another $56.9 million from their pockets and handing it over to poor, underperforming Lionsgate. What better time than the holidays, after all, to give to the needy—a group that surely includes Hollywood producers who ever so slightly overestimated interest in the first half of a final installment of a franchise that could easily have just been a trilogy?

Even with the generous charity of concerned audiences, Mockingjay might struggle to surpass the earnings of the year’s big winner, Guardians Of The Galaxy, whose $331 million intake remains a high bar to clear. But there’s no question that Thanksgiving belonged to Katniss and company—in part because ticket buyers seemed mostly disinterested in prolonging the life of two other franchises. The animated spinoff Penguins Of Madagascar made $36 million over five days—a little more than half as much as the last two Madagascar films made during their three-day opening weekends. (That high-pitched sound you hear is the nervous, panicked laughter of the creative team behind next spring’s Minions.) Even worse were the returns posted by Horrible Bosses 2, a sequel that desperately clawed its way to fifth place with $23 million, which is a nearly 20-percent dip in patronage from the three-year-old original. (It also lost to the one-two “fuck yeah science” punch of Big Hero 6 and Interstellar.)


Meanwhile, The Theory Of Everything expanded to 802 theaters, its total gross rising to an impressive $9.6 million. It now seems destined to become the year’s highest-grossing biopic about a brainy Brit with an “ing” in his last name. Or does it? Opening on just four theaters, The Imitation Game made a cool $482,000—a sum that breaks down to $120,500 per venue. Only The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opened back in March, has managed a better per-theater average. It seems vanquishing Nazis—be they the code-designing kind, or the imaginary, Andersonian breed—is good business.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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