Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
December 12, 2015

He looks... unhappy to be potentially losing.

Although there was a new movie released in theaters this weekend, you almost wouldn’t know it. At this point, everyone just seems to be holding their breath until showings for Star Wars: The Force Awakens begin on Thursday night.

In the Heart of the Sea

Director Ron Howard’s adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick book got off to a subdued start on Friday. After earning $575,000 from early Thursday screenings, the film based on the story that “inspired” Moby Dick came in with a Friday total of just $3.8 million. In case you’re wondering, that’s only $100,000 less than the previous Howard/Chris Hemsworth collaboration, the underrated Rush (and it didn’t have the extra Thursday revenue to boost it).

Clearly, people had no idea why they’d want to see this movie, even if they generally like the people involved in the project. With a 43% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ Cinemascore, there’s not much reason to think In the Heart of the Sea will come anywhere close to justifying its $100 million budget. The only hope it has is the benefit of Christmas season inflation.

If we remove the $575,000 from Thursday night, the “true” Friday number for In the Heart of the Sea was $3.3 million. It will hold up okay over the weekend – there obviously wasn’t a rush to go out and see it – but it’s not like there’s a lot of demand for it. The film probably comes in under $10 million, but Warner Bros. will probably give it an estimate just over that amount. That studio is pretty thankful for Creed this holiday season.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

That leaves an opening for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 to take the top stop one more time before Star Wars arrives. With a Friday total of $3.3 million (effectively the same as In the Heart of the Sea’s true total), it should be able to have one final weekend in double digits, probably right around $11 million. It’s still lagging well behind the other Hunger Games films, and will need some Christmas magic to leg it out to a total over $300 million.

Other Notable Holdovers

Creed looks to be one of the big winners of the holiday season, as it was down just 34% on Friday and should recover to an even better hold over the remainder of the holiday weekend. Look for a total around $10.5 million – and it might even beat In the Heart of the Sea and contend for the top spot.

Since it’s a horror film, we shouldn’t be surprised that Krampus fell 58% from last Friday. It’s one of the worst declines in the top 10, but still isn’t terrible given the genre. It’s probably going to come in with an $8.1 million total.

The Good Dinosaur fell only 34%, much like Creed, so it had a nice recovery after a tough weekend in the previous frame. The Christmas season should be kind to this Pixar release, even if it is one of their lesser releases. It’ll be right in that $10-$11 million mix with In the Heart of the Sea, The Hunger Games and Creed – probably right around $10.8 million.