Weekend Box Office (November 20 - 22, 2015)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND On the one hand it was another top spot $100M+ debut for the popular franchise, on the other, it was a new series low. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 stormed into the box office to conclude the three-book/four-film saga and opened to an estimated $101M from 4,175 locations for a muscular $24,198 average. It was the fifth best debut of 2015 and eighth biggest November launch of all-time.

The PG-13 actioner opened 17% below the $121.9M of Mockingjay Part 1 and 36% below the $158.1M of Catching Fire. All the Hunger Games sequels opened on this same November frame over consecutive years. Audience erosion has been at play across these films with many fans that lined up for the first two chapters deciding to skip one or both of the final ones. Still, these are hefty grosses that make for profitable films on a worldwide scale.

Reviews were about even with Part 1's from last year. But the declining grosses are in sharp contrast to the way the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises concluded. All were based on wildly popular books and featured the final book divided into two films in order to grab more cash from the pockets of fans. As with Hunger Games, the final Twilight films (Breaking Dawn) launched on the weekend before Thanksgiving in November but Part 2's opening actually enjoyed a slight uptick from Part 1 with fans gathering together for the finale. That was not the case for the Jennifer Lawrence series as interest and excitement deflated steadily.

The new Mockingjay's weekend kicked off with a $46M opening day Friday which included $16M from Thursday night pre-shows starting at 7:00pm. Saturday fell 27% to $33.8M and Sunday is projected to drop another 37% to $21.3M. That is the same Sunday decline as last year's chapter. IMAX was part of the fun this time with 371 screens for Part 2's opening unlike last year when Interstellar already locked them up leaving Part 1 with other PLF screens.

Recent Katniss sequels had the same calendar and achieved 36-37% of their domestic finals on opening weekend. A similar road for the new installment would put it on course to end in the $270-280M neighborhood.

Overseas markets saw good launches for Mockingjay Part 2 with the foreign total reaching $146M from 87 markets which was slightly below the $152M from 85 markets for Part 1 a year ago which did not even include China which opened much later. So Americans are not the only ones losing interest in Katniss.

China was part of the first weekend of markets on Part 2 and delivered $16.4M which was second behind only the $17.1M from the U.K. Germany was the only other territory to break double digit millions with $14.4M. Openings dipped from Part 1's numbers in many key markets like the U.K., Russia, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil. To date, the Hunger Games films have collectively grossed $2.56 billion worldwide and may reach the $3 billion mark for a remarkable average of $750M global per pic.

The latest James Bond film SPECTRE took a hit in its third round falling 57% to an estimated $14.6M pushing the domestic total up to $153.7M. With massive cumes in China and the U.K., Sony's global tally shot up past $670M.

Kidpic The Peanuts Movie dropped 47% in its third weekend to an estimated $12.8M putting Fox at $98.9M overall. The long Thanksgiving holiday frame will open the doors for more families to come out and see Snoopy and friends, however the opening of Pixar's The Good Dinosaur will make for some hefty competition.

Seth Rogen's new raunchy comedy The Night Before debuted in fourth with mild results making an estimated $10.1M from 2,960 locations for a so-so $3,412 average. Sony plugged the film into this weekend as counter-programming against Katniss hoping to lure in young men and hopes word-of-mouth will be good enough to take it into the turkey frame. The opening was in line with past Rogen comedies with no other big stars. The CinemaScore was a good A- and reviews were decent.

Stars of yesteryear Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman failed to draw in audiences for their new crime thriller The Secret In Their Eyes which bowed in fifth with an estimated $6.7M from 2,392 locations for a weak $2,780 average for STX. A PG-13 remake of an Oscar-winning film from Argentina, Secret was panned by critics and ticket buyers were not pleased either as the CinemaScore was a lousy B-. Appeal was limited to mature women who had better options.

With bad reviews and lukewarm audience buzz, the Christmas comedy Love the Coopers did not see the type of good hold many holiday films see this time of year. The CBS pic fell 53% in its second frame to an estimated $3.9M lifting the total to a modest $14.9M. Fox's The Martian enjoyed its eighth weekend in the top ten grossing an estimated $3.7M, off 45%, for a new cume of $213M.

Unlike many awards hopefuls this fall, the investigative journalism drama Spotlight fared well in its national expansion grossing an estimated $3.6M from 598 locations for a solid $6,025 average. Open Road widened the critically acclaimed pic from 60 theaters into only moderate national play this frame and will go wider over the crowded Thanksgiving session. Cume is $5.9M and with its strong audience buzz, this one could play well over the weeks ahead with upscale adults.

The mining disaster flick The 33 tumbled 61% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $2.2M giving Warner Bros. a terrible $9.9M. Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies clung to the top ten in its sixth round with an estimated $1.9M, down 54%, putting Disney at $65.2M. It remains on course to end as one of the famed director's lowest grossing wide releases ever.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $160.6M which was down 13% from last year when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 opened at number one with $121.9M; and down 25% from 2013 when The Hunger Games: Catching Fire debuted in the top spot with $158.1M.

Compared to projections, Mockingjay Part 2 did not reach my forecast of $117M. Both The Night Before and The Secret In Their Eyes came in slightly below my predictions of $12M and $8M.

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Watch the trailer for The Hateful Eight.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Wednesday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Good Dinosaur, Creed, and Victor Frankenstein all open.

# Title Nov 20 - 22 Nov 13 - 15 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2 $ 102,665,981 4,175 1 $ 24,591 $ 102,665,981 Lionsgate
2 SPECTRE 15,043,729 33,681,104 -55.3 3,659 3 4,111 154,146,608 Sony
3 The Peanuts Movie 13,203,590 24,013,538 -45.0 3,671 3 3,597 99,346,727 Fox
4 The Night Before 9,880,536 2,960 1 3,338 9,880,536 Sony
5 The Secret In Their Eyes 6,652,996 2,392 1 2,781 6,652,996 STX
6 Love the Coopers 4,134,130 8,317,545 -50.3 2,603 2 1,588 15,128,355 CBS
7 The Martian 3,797,770 6,712,171 -43.4 2,086 8 1,821 213,137,212 Fox
8 Spotlight 3,528,384 1,353,630 160.7 598 3 5,900 5,804,495 Open Road
9 The 33 2,342,030 5,787,266 -59.5 2,452 2 955 10,002,722 Warner Bros.
10 Bridge of Spies 2,006,155 4,268,772 -53.0 1,532 6 1,310 65,238,567 Disney
11 Goosebumps 1,861,967 4,633,112 -59.8 1,787 6 1,042 76,116,279 Sony
12 Brooklyn 1,160,517 479,971 141.8 111 3 10,455 2,169,742 Fox Searchlight
13 Hotel Transylvania 2 818,361 2,314,063 -64.6 828 9 988 166,445,102 Sony
14 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo 628,715 2,425,585 -74.1 283 2 2,222 3,961,221 FIP
15 Suffragette 520,035 1,025,225 -49.3 517 5 1,006 3,568,054 Focus
16 The Intern 423,419 1,194,150 -64.5 514 9 824 74,170,096 Warner Bros.
17 Room 384,828 563,673 -31.7 160 6 2,405 2,901,838 A24
18 My All American 369,000 1,365,000 -73.0 1,314 2 281 2,200,000 Clarius
19 The Last Witch Hunter 342,482 1,482,463 -76.9 624 5 549 26,822,658 Lionsgate
20 Pan 325,111 369,044 -11.9 365 7 891 34,012,065 Warner Bros.
Top 5 $ 147,446,832 $ 78,511,624 87.8
Top 10 163,255,301 93,635,619 74.4
Top 20 170,089,736 103,032,708 65.1
Top 20 vs. 2014 170,089,736 191,413,754 -11.1

Last Updated: November 22, 2015 at 3:30PM ET

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