It was the calm before the box office storm this weekend, and there were no survivors. The only new wide release was big budget Moby Dick adaptation In the Heart of the Sea, which disappointed with a very low debut. Meanwhile, Mockingjay Part 2 took first place yet again, while The Big Short put up fantastic numbers in limited release.
In the Heart of the Sea disappointed with a very soft $11M opening weekend. The $100M film was originally set to open back in March of this year, which looking back was likely a much better release date. Opening a big budget IMAX 3D would-be ‘event’ film a week before Star Wars was quite a bone headed move that absolutely doomed this film before it even released. The Cinemascore was a B+, but it doesn’t really matter since its going to lose all of its 3D and IMAX screens next weekend, followed by a slew of wide releases on Christmas. Look for this to disappear with only around $25M total.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 fell 41% to $11.3M, which was good enough for first place. That’s a decent enough hold which brings the franchise finale to a new domestic total of $244.4M, and a worldwide total of $564M. Obviously it has no shot of getting near $300M at this point and will be lucky to get much more than another $20M out of its run. Not to sound like a broken record, but its obviously going to get crushed by Star Wars next weekend.
The Good Dinosaur fell 32% to $10.5M in its third weekend. Even though that’s a decent drop, it’s still at a very disappointing $89M 3 week total. Once again, it will get crushed by Star Wars and could possibly even close under $110M, which is less than Inside Out made in its first week alone. It is absolutely going to end up being the lowest grossing Pixar movie by a massive margin, and this is a very disappointing total.
Krampus fell 51% in its second weekend down to $8M. That’s a fairly solid drop for a horror movie, which tend to fall 55% or more. Considering the unusual nature, this is a very solid hold. If it can hold over the next two weeks it will likely be able to top $45M.
Creed had another great hold, down just 32% to $10.1M in its third weekend. The film seems different enough to be able to hold against the onslaught of competition, and still has a decent shot at $100M domestic.
In limited release, The Big Short put up the second highest per theater average of the year, behind only October’s mega hit Steve Jobs. The film averaged a fantastic $90K from 8 theaters, giving it a $720K gross for the weekend. That’s a fantastic start for a film that didn’t really seem to be going after the art house crowd (Adam McKay is not exactly what most people would describe as prestigious) but the primary reason for this success has to be the films political commentary and statements about corruption and the world economy. Outside of that, it wouldn’t have seemed like something that would do so well in this market. However, this is definitely not a sure sign of a successful wide release. For example, Sicario averaged $60K but saw much better domestic success than Steve Jobs which averaged a fantastic $130K (for reference, Sicario grosed $46M domestically while Steve Jobs did just $17M). The film goes wide on December 23rd, the Wednesday before Christmas. Whether or not it can hold its own against massive competition is yet to be seen, but the premise is intriguing enough; what happens when four random outsiders take advantage of widespread corruption for personal gain? This seems like something that would do much better in the fall, rather than Christmas. Most audiences would rather not see something satirical about widespread Wall Street corruption over the Holidays (but then again, The Wolf of Wall Street grossed $118M so what do I know). This is certainly a wild card, but it seems like it has the chance to break out.
More from Bombs and Blockbusters
Weekend Forecast: “Heart of the Sea” to Take a Dive
Saturday Update: “Heart of the Sea” Flatlines, “Big Short” Impresses