A sleepy weekend short on new releases found the American moviegoing public split between going to see that Hunger Games half-movie again or maybe that one with the ship, or staying home while wondering why they keep running ads for that new Star Wars if it’s not playing anywhere. Mockingjay—Part 2, the final Hunger Games movie until Lionsgate is done figuring out how they can make more, topped its fourth consecutive weekend with a very modest $11.3 million, doing only marginally better than In The Heart Of The Sea, which took the No. 2 spot with an even $11 million. That makes the totally fine whaling movie a costly flop, leading box office reports far and wide to indulge in the kind of godawful “sinks”/“runs aground” nautical wordplay that this publication refuses to be a party to.
Given that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will begin sucking up all of America’s money in a few days, In The Heart Of The Sea is now projected to make under a third of its $100 million budget, its failure a reminder of the hubris of men who dare to go up against a live-action industry dominated by movies that are just parts of movies and movies that are about other movies that people already like. Speaking of the latter: Ryan Coogler’s passion-project Rocky sequel Creed is still doing well, earning an estimated $10.1 million at No. 4. In an underwhelming December weekend that Box Office Mojo ominously describes as the worst “since Star Trek: Insurrection topped the box office in 1998,” that’s almost Hunger Games money.
Also making somewhere in the $10-11 million range: The Good Dinosaur, which landed at No. 3 with $10.5 million. Meanwhile, in very limited release, Adam McKay’s The Big Short averaged a very impressive $90,000 per theater, a number that would normally anticipate success, were it not for the precedent set by the similarly budgeted (and more heavily hyped) Steve Jobs, which flopped in wide release after bringing in even better per theater averages. Spotlight and Brooklyn made impressive gains, earning $2.5 million and $2 million respectively, which is considered a lot of money for movies naively advertised on the promise of being good. (See also: Carol, still averaging $20,000 per theater four weeks into its release.)
Macbeth, the Shakespeare monologue Justin Kurzel prepared for his Assassin’s Creed audition, expanded significantly in its second week, but brought in just a quarter of a million dollars. But really, all of these hoity-toity film festival actor movies are getting completely fucking steamrolled by Krampus, the horror-comedy that made an estimated $8 million, presumably because of the goodwill its stars have engendered for their appearances on beloved cultural institution Pick A Choice.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.