Can ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ and ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ Crush Katniss and Co. at Holiday Box Office?

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” is a strong bet to repeat at No. 1 as the Thanksgiving weekend starts early

The comedy sequel “Horrible Bosses 2” and the animated family film “Penguins of Madagascar” will challenge reigning champ “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” as the Thanksgiving weekend box office kicks off early Wednesday.

Look for Katniss and Co. to do the feasting say the analysts, who see the third entry in Lionsgate’s young adult franchise taking in around $80 million over the long weekend. That should be enough to hold off DreamWorks Animation’s “Penguins,” which is projected to finish the five days in the mid- to high-$40 million range, and Warner Bros.’ R-rated “Horrible Bosses” sequel, which is likely to wind up at around $35 million.

What percentage of its year’s-best $121 million opening “Mockingjay” will be able to retain will be an intriguing question this weekend. It brought in a strong $9 million on Monday. But even with the Jennifer Lawrence blockbuster back for its second week, this year won’t have the heft of Thanksgiving 2013, when “Frozen” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” combined to bring in more than $200 million over the five days and broke a slew of records.

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey return in “Horrible Bosses 2,” which is directed by Sean Anders, and are joined by Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine.

The original film opened to $28.3 million in July of 2011 and went on to take in $117.5 million domestically and $92.1 million overseas.

The sequel isn’t nearly as well reviewed (22 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes), and it’s not tearing it up on social media either. As of Tuesday morning, it was the No. 3 seller at online ticket broker Fandango, behind “Mockingjay” and “Penguins,” but outselling the original film and “We’re the Millers.”

Warner Bros. will have “Horrible Bosses 2” in 3,375 theaters by Friday, after opening with early screenings at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“Penguins of Madagascar” was originally to be released in March by distributor Fox, but was moved into the Thanksgiving weekend slot, historically a launch pad for animated hits.

Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Chris Miller and Tom McGrath are part of the voice cast for “Penguins.” Eric Darnell and Simon Swift direct the spinoff from DWA’s “Madagascar” franchise, which has a $135 million production budget.

The reviews are just OK (57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and social media is underwhelming, but that shouldn’t matter much with the young crowd that it targets.

Distributor Fox will have the PG-rated “Penguins” in a robust 3,700 theaters, with the majority of those equipped with 3D.

Awards hopeful “The Imitation Game” highlights the weekend’s specialty releases.

Benedict Cumbatch and Keira Knightley star in the PG-13-rated drama about British cryptologist Alan Turing, who was prosecuted for homosexuality after helping to crack Germany’s Enigma Code during World War II. Morten Tyldum directs.

The Weinstein Company is opening it in four theaters.