Creed and Dinosaur Strong at Thanksgiving Box Office
By John Hamann
November 29, 2015
Over the three-day portion of turkey weekend, Mockingjay Part 2 took in $51.6 million, a very good, solid score, but one that pales in comparison to previous Hunger Games efforts. Part 1 earned $57 million over three-days, so while the lead of Part 1 has been trimmed, it’s still significant. Mockingjay Part 1 fell 53% compared to its opening frame, compared to Part 2's 50% decline. Part 2 will have to face off against Krampus next weekend, which I think will be more of a challenge than The Pyramid (and its $1.4 million opening) gave Part 1 last year.
Over the five-day weekend, Mockingjay Part 2 earned a healthy $75.8 million, a number Lionsgate should be proud of given the competition this weekend. The finish is in the eight best Thanksgiving weekends of all-time, and it continues to thump scores put up by the Twilight franchise. The domestic total has reached $198.3 million after only 10 days of release (versus Part 1’s $225.7 million), and also has $242 million from overseas venues.
The real news at the box office happens in second and third this weekend. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur finished second, setting itself up for a long December run. Animated films aren’t opened on Thanksgiving weekend to achieve big opening weekend results; they open here so that holiday season legs can take hold, with parents dropping kids off at the cinema while they do their Christmas shopping. The Good Dinosaur did what it had to, starting with a $9.8 million Wednesday. Thursday dropped significantly to $6.6 million, but of the five-day frame, Thanksgiving itself is the slower day amongst the bunch. Friday was the key, and it did very well, earning $15.7 million, an almost 140% increase over the previous day.
Over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the weekend, The Good Dinosaur performed admirably, pulling down a gross of $39.2 million from 3,749 venues, the fourth biggest Thanksgiving debut ever. While this number seriously lags against films like Inside Out ($90.4 million open) and The Incredibles ($70.5 million), remember that even the bigger films in the Pixar cannon would not have succeeded to the same degree had they opened over Thanksgiving. With Inside Out, Pixar has already had that big opening weekend success, and will now try for the leggy, long-term success they have seen in the past. The budget here is estimated to be between $175 and $200 million, so it will need a worldwide gross between $500 and $600 million to see a theatrical profit.
In the mid-to-late 1990’s, Pixar owned Thanksgiving, releasing three films between 1995 and 1999 on turkey weekend: Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998) and Toy Story 2 (1999). The Good Dinosaur, a non-sequel, relates best to A Bug’s Life, and has similar attributes. Both were squeezed between two very big films (the first two Toy Story films for A Bug’s Life, and Inside Out and Finding Dory for The Good Dinosaur). Both are likely inferior films to the films they were squeezed between, but of course the jury is still out on Finding Dory. A Bug’s Life opened to $33.3 million on Thanksgiving weekend, but it was still able to earn $50 million between December 18th and January 3rd. It finished with a domestic gross of $162.8 million, or 4.9 times what it opened to. That means that The Good Dinosaur should challenge $200 million at the domestic box office and then do quite well overseas.