November 29, 2014

UPDATED: FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Mockingjay” Flies High On Black Friday



Black Friday was, as always, a very bright day for movies.  The holiday weekend continues to belong to THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I (Lionsgate), which soared 118% from Thursday to a terrific $24.1M.  Even though Mockingjay continues to lag behind the previous Hunger Games installments, that’s a better day-after-Thanksgiving kick than the 110% that Catching Fire had last year.  Mockingjay should hit at least $225M in the US by Sunday.

Mockingjay‘s Friday was more than double its nearest competitor, PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR (DreamWorks Animation/20th) and its $10.5M.  Nevertheless, Penguins performed very well, with a 166% jump that was better than the 140% boosts for Frozen and Tangled, and much better than the 110% for The Muppets, on the same day in recent years.  Word of mouth seems to be on Penguins‘ side, but the numbers are still relatively low (even with the big Friday leap, that $10.5M was considerably below the $12.1M that Muppets had on the day after Thanksgiving, let alone the $26.8M for Frozen or the $19.5M for Tangled), and Penguins probably won’t reach $40M by Sunday, with just 2 weekends before Annie and the new Night At the Museum claim the family audience on Dec. 19.

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 (New Line/Warners) only increased its Friday take by 103% to $6.2M, just 5th place for the day, and it’s headed for a $15M 3-day weekend.  Its 5-day total of $27M won’t even equal the $28.3M 3-day weekend opening for the first Horrible Bosses, which didn’t have the benefit of a holiday weekend.  DUMB AND DUMBER TO (Red Granite/Universal) held its own, up a much better 129% to $3.4M, on its way to a $9M 3-day weekend and a $73M total by Sunday.

Horrible Bosses 2 was beaten on Friday by two strong holdovers.  BIG HERO 6 (Disney) was hardly fazed at all by the arrival of Penguins of Madagascar, and it climbed by 153% from Thursday to $7.7M, with a $20M 3-day weekend ahead and a $167M US total by Sunday, which puts it in position to possibly hit $200M if it can hold onto enough theatres during the holidays.  INTERSTELLAR (Paramount/Warners) increased by 117% to $6.6M, on its way to a $16M 3-day weekend and a $148M US total by Sunday, also with an outside shot of reaching $200M.

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus/Universal), which expanded to 802 theatres on Wednesday, zoomed by 161% on Friday to $1.9M, putting it in line for a $5M 3-day weekend and a fair per-theatre weekend average above $6K, better than Philomena‘s $4400 average when it expanded to 835 theatres on Thanksgiving weekend last year (although Philomena did have a bigger Friday kick of 210%).  BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) was also up a similar 166% for the day to $735K at 710 theatres, with a $2M 3-day weekend ahead and a $2500 average.

The Oscar hopeful news of the weekend, though, was the arrival of THE IMITATION GAME (Weinstein) at 4 NY/LA theatres, where it’s on track for one of the highest opening weekend averages of the year after a $181K Fridayeasily topping the $107K average that Birdman had last month, and with a higher average on Friday alone than Theory of Everything had in its opening weekend, $45K vs $42K (although still dwarfed by the $202K average for The Grand Budapest Hotel).  Imitation is Harvey Weinstein’s big awards play of the season, and its expansion will doubtless be played out over the next several weeks with a eye for strategic detail that even Alan Turing would respect.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."