‘Hunger Games’ Sneaks Past ‘Krampus’ for 3rd Straight Win at Box Office

Katniss and Co. rally past creepy Yule comedy, leaving “The Good Dinosaur’ and “Creed” in tight race for third

Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” rolled to its third straight triumph at the box office this weekend with an estimated $18.6 million, but Katniss and Co. had to rally past the creepy Christmas comedy “Krampus” to do it.

Legendary Pictures and Universal’s PG-13-rated tale of a Yultetide demon who feasts on naughty children knocked Jennifer Lawrence and the gang from the top spot on Friday and wound up at just over $16 million for the three days. But the finale in Lionsgate’s blockbuster young adult sci-fi franchise had a stronger Saturday — $8.3 million to $6.6 million for “Krampus” — and recovered to overtake the low-budget horror comedy.

“Mockingjay – Part 2” lifted its domestic total to $227 million in the process and, with another $296 million from overseas, and now has a global total of $524 million. This is the first time a movie has won three weekends in a row since “Straight Outta Compton” managed the feat in August.

Pixar Animation’s “The Good Dinosaur” and the Warner Bros. boxing drama “Creed” were battling for third with both at roughly $15.5 million. The grosses for the Disney family film fell 60 percent from last weekend. That’s not good, but the film is over $75 million domestically and $131 million globally after two weeks.

“Creed,” the “Rocky” revival starring Michael B. Jordan, upped its domestic total to $65 million after two weeks. Director Ryan Coogler is now in the awards discussion along with Jordan and co-star and producer Sylvester Stallone after the film’s success. A few days ago, it was also revealed that Coogler is in serious talks to direct superhero movie “Black Panther” for Marvel and Disney.

“Krampus” topped its $15 million production budget with the opening, about $5 million above pre-release projections. It was directed by “X2” and “Superman Returns” screenwriter Michael Dougherty and stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner and Emjay Anthony. It’s Dougherty’s second feature following “Trick r’ Treat,” a direct-to-video horror film that became a minor cult hit in 2009.

The showing by “Krampus” is especially 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). It drew a crowd that was split evenly gender-wise and in terms of age, with roughly 50 percent of the audience under 21.

“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.

Writer-director Spike Lee‘s “Chi-Raq,” in which Nick Cannon, Samuel L. Jackson, Teyonah Parris and Angela Bassett top an ensemble cast, took in an estimated $1.2 million from 305 theaters, for a solid $3,900 per-screen average.

Lee’s take on gun violence in Chicago, the first theatrical release from Amazon Studios, did especially well in the city where it is set and was shot, averaging more than $15,000 per-screen.

Though no film hit $20 million, the solid business from the holdovers and the better-than-expected showing by “Krampus” resulted in a busier than normal post-Thanksgiving weekend — up over 26 percent vs. same weekend last year.