Weekend Wrap-Up

Mockingjay Tops Post-Thanksgiving Fallout

By John Hamann

December 7, 2014

You people are making me very uncomfortable.

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The rest of the top ten was dreadful this weekend, even considering the calendar configuration. Penguins of Madagascar is second this weekend, coming off a muted debut of $25.4 million. This weekend, the Friday number alone was off a hurtful 77% compared to Black Friday, and the Penguins of DreamWorks Animation earned only $11.1 million, off 56% from the holiday frame. With kids off school last Friday, it is understandable that the Friday plunge is so significant; however, with a domestic gross so far of $49.6 million, 20th Century Fox (who is distributing the DreamWorks product) has to be looking at a worst case scenario.

Remember that Penguins cost $135 million to make, so it will need a worldwide gross of between $350 and $400 million to see any kind of profit. At $135 million, these films simply cost too much to mitigate the risk. The only upside still possible is in the overseas grosses, as the Madagascar films have proven to be popular outside of North America. Penguins has managed an overseas total of $94 million so far. It should still be able to manage $75 million stateside, which would mean a need for an overseas gross approaching $300 million. At this point, that seems unlikely.


Third spot goes to Horrible Bosses 2, which had some good news by placing second on Friday, only to be relegated to third by the end of the weekend. After a fifth place, $15.5 million three-day total last weekend, Horrible Bosses 2 was one of the films in the top ten to actually hold decently this weekend. “Decent” over the post-Thanksgiving frame means that the Warner Bros. release earned $8.6 million and dropped 44% compared to the holiday frame. Working in favor of the R-rated comedy is the budget of only $42 million, which reduces the pressure on the movie to over-perform. Given its domestic take of $36.1 million so far, it will match it production budget next weekend, and could even be profitable should overseas numbers show up for the sequel like they did for the original ($92 million overseas take). Domestically, I’m thinking that Horrible Bosses 2 finishes within $20 million of Penguins of Madagascar, yet it cost $93 million LESS to make.

It was close this weekend between our five-weekend-old films, Big Hero 6 and Interstellar. Big Hero 6 finished fourth but had the higher percentage drop compared to last weekend. After earning $18.8 million last weekend, Big Hero 6 dropped back significantly this weekend, earning $8.1 million and dropping a severe 57%. Again, kids’ movies take the brunt of the punishment from the post-Thanksgiving frame, as the differences between Black Friday and this Friday are so significant. Big Hero 6 lost 77% from Friday-to-Friday, which is hard to come back from, no matter the weekend multiplier. The animated feature with the $165 million budget has now earned $177.5 million and should have no problem touching $200 million, which means the film will have to approach $300 million overseas to be profitable for Disney. So far, Big Hero 6 has pulled in $63 million internationally, but that is from only a handful of overseas territories. It debuts within 15 more territories before the New Year hits, in countries like Japan, Australia and several European regions.

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