Box Office: ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Krampus’ top slow post-Thanksgiving weekend

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hunger Games’ finale fends off spooky ‘Krampus’ film.

The “Hunger Games” finale spoiled an early Christmas for the holiday horror comedy “Krampus” to maintain its top spot at the North American box office for the third week running. LOS ANGELES — Call it the deep breath before the onslaught: A dozen major movies are lined up for release over the next three weeks, including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but Hollywood mostly served Thanksgiving leftovers this post-holiday weekend, historically a dead spot on the box-office calendar.

The Jennifer Lawrence-led film took in an estimated $18.6 million in the U.S. and Canada, bringing its domestic total to $227 million, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The final installment in Lionsgate’s YA film franchise raced past the $500 million mark globally over the weekend, finishing Sunday with a worldwide cume of $523.9 million. The normally slow weekend following Thanksgiving was up 26 percent from a year ago thanks to the fresh material from Universal, which slipped in between the release of two huge franchise movies— “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” and “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” which is due out Dec. 18. “Even though it’s horror at its base, you needed to have enough time for the film to open and lead up to Christmas,” said Nicholas Carpou, Universal Pictures’ president of domestic distribution. “Being the only wide commercial release on this date really did wonders for this film.” Modestly budgeted for under $15 million, “Krampus” is likely to add to the profits of what has been a record year for Universal following the release of movies like “Jurassic World,” ”Furious 7,” and “Minions.” Meanwhile, the final movie installment for bow-wielding Katniss pushed past $500 million worldwide, another hit for Lionsgate, which has staked its claim on the young adult market. Second place went to “Krampus,” a rare Christmas-themed horror movie, which arrived to about $16 million in ticket sales, a bit more than analysts expected. “Krampus” (Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures) cost an estimated $15 million to make. “Creed,” from Warner’s New Line and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, was a close third, taking in about $15.5 million, for a two-week domestic total of $65 million. It hopes to keep rolling with its franchise film strategy with “Allegiant,” the third film in the “Divergent” series due out in March. “Creed,” the boxing film where Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa, came third, and the Disney/Pixar animated tale “The Good Dinosaur” came fourth.

Lionsgate and Alcon also saw solid results offshore with Point Break, which debuted to $14.1 million in six Asian markets, including $12.1 million in China. With a budget just over $15 million, the film registered a B- from audience polling firm CinemaScore and a 63% “fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics. In a surprise upset, Legendary and Universal’s Krampus beat animated family tentpole The Good Dinosaur, which tumbled 60 percent in its second weekend domestically, tying with Cars 2 to mark the steepest drop ever for a Pixar title (some rival studios show Dinosaur falling 61 percent). That ranges from director Alejandro Inarritu’s “The Revenant” to the Amy Poehler and Tina Fey-led comedy, “Sisters,” which has knowingly marketed its film with a “Star Wars” parody trailer and the hastag #youcanseethemboth.

The New Line Cinema and MGM-financed “Rocky” spinoff “Creed”, which debuted strongly last week, continues to have a winning punch, taking the third spot this week. Among other films competing for attention in the coming weeks are: “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip,” the Will Smith-led football movie “Concussion,” and “Joy,” an underdog tale that reunites stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper with “American Hustle” director David O.

The Warner Bros.-distributed picture by director Ryan Coogler is a welcome relief for the distributor after a year of weak performers, including “Pan.” With an impressive 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A grade from CinemaScore, “Creed” stars Michael B. Directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat), Krampus stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner and recounts the ancient legend of Krampus, who punishes those who have lost their Christmas spirit.

The movie played best in America’s heartland. “Krampus was relatable to all age groups with exit polls indicating a nearly even audience split under and over the age of 21,” Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou said. “Fact is, the strongest category was moviegoers under 15. Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. Internationally, the film crossed $100 million as it continues to play strongest in Latin America with good showings in France, Germany and Southeast Asia.

A flurry of movies opened at the specialty box office as awards season intensifies, including Spike Lee’s well-received Chi-Raq, the first title from Amazon’s original films division. On the limited release front, Spike Lee’s latest “Chi-Raq” opened Friday in 305 locations, distributed by Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios.

The movie, tackling the issue of gun violence in Chicago, looks to come in No. 13 with $1.3 million from 305 locations for a screen average of $4,092. It’s unclear how wide Chi-Raq will ultimately play, since many theaters will likely refuse to carry the title since it will be offered relatively quickly on Amazon Prime (an official release date has not been set).

Roadside Attractions is handling the film theatrically. “When we saw an early cut of Chi-Raq, we knew it was crucial to get the film out as soon as possible,” said Amazon Studios head of marketing and distribution Bob Berney. “The numbers out of Chicago are phenomenal. Open Road’s “Spotlight” and Fox Searchlight’s “Brooklyn”, both prompting awards buzz, continue to perform well to their audiences, taking the eighth ($2.9 million) and ninth ($2.4 million) spots, respectively, at the box office. In Chicago, we estimate a $15,000-plus per screen average on 22 screens,” Berney continued. “And in the majority of our 305 theaters we’re one of the top three grossing films.

Chi-Raq has been recognized as a call to action to stop the violence plaguing cities across the country, not only Chicago.” Other new limited offerings include Macbeth, based on William Shakespeare’s play and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Between now and then, the only other major wide releases are the Ron Howard-directed adventure “In the Heart of the Sea” — based on a story that inspired the Herman Melville classic “Moby-Dick” — and “Legend,” starring Tom Hardy as a pair of identical twin gangsters in 1960s Britain. Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, starring Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano, fared somewhat better, debuting to an estimated $80,000 from four theaters for a location average of $20,000.

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