“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” powered to an impressive $75.7 million over the long Thanksgiving weekend, with “The Good Dinosaur” and “Creed” finishing a strong second and third to put the 2015 domestic box office back on its record track.
The 3D Pixar Animation family film brought in an estimated $56 million over the five days for Disney and the “Rocky” revival punched its way to $41 million for MGM, New Line and distributor Warner Bros. The horror film “Victor Frankenstein,” the weekend’s other wide opener, missed out on the bounty and tanked with less than $4 million for Fox.
The strong second weekend for Jennifer Lawrence and the finale in Lionsgate’s blockbuster young adult franchise — the third-highest five-day Thanksgiving gross ever — lifted the weekend total for the top 20 films over last year by roughly 12 percent.
As a result, the 2015 domestic box office is now pacing just ahead of 2013, the current record holder with $10.9 billion. With the Dec. 18 debut of Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” now three weeks away, the chances that this year will set a new standard with $11 billion are looking good.
“This Thanksgiving weekend was by no means a record breaker,” said Rentrak senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian, “but it delivered a bounty of great content with an array of films of all shapes and sizes from blockbusters like ‘Hunger Games’ to ripped-from-the-headlines dramas like ‘Spotlight,’ and of course tried-and-true brands like Bond, Peanuts and of course ‘Rocky’ with the perfectly realized “Creed.”
With moviegoers heading to the multiplexes in droves, holdover films shared in the bounty. Sony’s James Bond film “Spectre” ($19 million), Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie” ($13.4 million), the raunchy Seth Rogen comedy “The Night Before” ($11.5 million) and STX’s “Secret in Their Eyes” ($5.7 million) all held very well and finished fourth through seventh.
“Mockingjay – Part 2” retained 50 percent of its opening weekend audience, the second-best hold of any of the previous “Hunger Games” films. That provided a “how-do-you-like-me-now?” moment for Lionsgate and Katniss & company after an underwhelming first weekend. It’s up to nearly $200 million domestically and, with another $62 million from overseas this weekend, its worldwide gross is more than $440 million.
“The Good Dinosaur” continued Disney’s dominating run of family films over the Thanksgiving holiday with the fourth-highest five-day opening ever. That gives the studio the top five debut Thanksgiving weekends ever, with Pixar’s latest joining “Frozen” ($93.5 million), “Toy Story 2” ($80.1 million), “Tangled” ($68.7 million) and “Enchanted” ($49 million).
The strong “A” Cinemascore — the 20th in a row for Pixar films — bodes well for a successful run by “The Good Dinosaur” over the next few weeks, since there will be no other animated films out until “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” on Dec. 18.
“Creed” got a lot accomplished with its better-than-expected showing.
It revived the dormant “Rocky” franchise with the best showing ever by a sequel in the series, and gave its awards hopes a lift, too. The well-reviewed ring drama has a shot at a Best Picture Oscar nomination, and writer-director Ryan Coogler, star Michael B. Jordan and co-star and producer Sylvester Stallone are all bona fide contenders for honors.
“Creed” exceeded its $35 million production budget in its first weekend and also provided a bright spot for distributor Warner Bros., a perennial powerhouse that has struggled at the box office this year.