Hollywood is giving the wheezing 2014 box office a bit of a breather before the holiday movie season hits high gear next week.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” will claim its third consecutive weekend win, predict industry analysts who project that Lionsgate’s young adult sci-fi saga will take in between $20 million and $25 million. There are no wide releases — Fox is rolling out the horror film “The Pyramid” on 550 screens — and there’s a good chance many potential moviegoers will be holiday shopping instead of hitting the multiplexes.
The box office sputtered in November, leaving 2014 down roughly four percent from 2013’s record-breaking haul. Things are unlikely to improve until the biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings” arrives Dec. 12 and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” lands a week later.
Though likely a slow one, this weekend will provide more clarity on the long-term prospects of two movies that underwhelmed last weekend, DreamWorks Animation’s “Penguins of Madagascar” and “Horrible Bosses 2.”
The family film is the best bet for second place again this week, and distributor Fox is hoping “Penguins” can pull further ahead of Disney Animation’s “Big Hero 6.” Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is banking on moviegoers being more in the mood for its R-rated comedy sequel now that Thanksgiving has passed.
“The Pyramid” is about a team of archaeologists who unleash evil when they discover a vast pyramid buried in the Egyptian desert. Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O’Hare, James Buckley and Daniel Amerman star in the found-footage film, which is directed by Gregory Levasseur (“Pirhanna 3D”). Silvatar Media and Fox International produced.
At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight will roll out the R-rated Reese Witherspoon survival drama “Wild” on five screens.
Nick Hornby (“An Education”) wrote the screenplay and Jean-Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club”) directs the tale based on Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild: From Last to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail.” Laura Dern co-stars.