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‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Gobbles $14.5 Million Appetizer at Pre-Thanksgiving Box Office

Katniss, Peeta and Gale eye $80 million over holiday; ”Penguins of Madagascar“ tops ”Horrible Bosses“ for second

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” began its Thanksgiving weekend feast, wolfing down $14.5 million at the box office Wednesday.

Lionsgate is hoping the Jennifer Lawrence-Liam Hemsworth-Josh Hutcherson sci-fi adventure tale will take in somewhere around $80 million over the long weekend — a good start. “Mockingjay” has rolled to roughly $350 million globally since opening in the U.S. and more than 85 foreign markets just under a week ago.

The DreamWorks Animation family film “Penguins of Madagascar” ran second in its first day of release with $6.2 million Wednesday. That puts it on track for around $45 million over the holiday, in line with the projections of distributor Fox.

The weekend’s other wide release, the Warner Bros. comedy “Horrible Bosses 2,” opened in third with $4.2 million, and the studio is projecting around $35 million for the long weekend. First-night moviegoers gave the R-rated sequel a “B+” CinemaScore. That was just ahead of Disney Animation’s “Big Hero 6,”

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” brought in $20 million last year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving last year, on its way to a record $110 million over the five days. Disney’s “Frozen” was huge as well, with $93.5 million.

This year won’t be anywhere near that busy at the multiplexes, with “Mockingjay” largely alone at the top and rough weather on the East Coast likely to take a toll.