“Krampus,” a bizarre black comedy about a murderous Christmas creature terrorizing naughty children, struck a creepy chord with holiday moviegoers in its No. 1 box-office opening Friday.
The PG-13-rated “Krampus” from Legendary Pictures took in just over $6 million in its first day of release for Universal Pictures, and was heading for around $15 million over the three days.
That topped heavyweight holdovers “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” Disney/Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” and the MGM/New Line boxing drama “Creed” on Friday.
Jennifer Lawrence‘s final turn as Katniss Everdeen managed $5.6 million for second on Friday and was a good bet to rally and win its third weekend with around $18 million for Lionsgate. “Creed” punched its way to $4.5 million and third place Friday and is heading for around $14 million in its second weekend.
“The Good Dinosaur” took in $3.5 million for Disney will likely battle “Krampus” for third place with around $15 million in its second weekend.
“Krampus” was directed by “X2” and “Superman Returns” screeenwriter Michael Dougherty and stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner and Emjay Anthony. It’s his second feature following “Trick r’ Treat,” a direct-to-video horror film that became a minor cult hit in 2009.
If the surprising showing by “Krampus” continues and it does hit $15 million for the weekend, it would be about $3 million above pre-release projections and match its modest production budget. That’s all the more impressive since it is playing in 2,902 theaters, well under the count of “Hunger Games” (4,086), “The Good Dinosaur” (3,749) and “Creed” (3,424).
The Krampus myth is well-known in Europe where it’s celebrated with street parades, and Universal is trying to cash in on that by opening the movie in 24 foreign markets as well this weekend.
“Krampus” received a “B-” CinemaScore from typically tough-grading horror fans, in line with the critics who have placed the film at 65 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
Spike Lee‘s R-rated drama “Chi-Raq” took in about $436,000 from 305 theaters Friday via Roadside Attractions. It should bring in a little over $1 million for the weekend.
The overall box office was running about 25 percent ahead of last year’s comparable weekend, when “Hunger Games” Mockingjay – Part 1” led with $22 million in its third go-round.