While the Penguins Of Madagascar have already been flapping their way through China for two frames, this is the weekend when Kowalski and crew will look to carve out a domestic niche. In their first full day of release on Wednesday, the DreamWorks Animation spin-off creatures waddled away with $6.25M at 3,654 locations, taking less than half of what Katniss Everdeen stuffed into the Hunger Games franchise quiver. Mockingjay Part 1 added an estimated $14.55M at 4,151 North American dates on Wednesday, up 20% from the previous day, but down from Catching Fire‘s $20.8M Wednesday during last Thanksgiving’s frame. The domestic total is now $157.56M, propelling the penultimate finale’s worldwide cume close to $350M. The other major new entry this frame, Warner Bros’ and New Line’s sequel Horrible Bosses 2, scored an early bonus with Tuesday previews coming in at $1M – that was up from the $365K the first film did in its July 2011 late nights. On Wednesday, Horrible Bosses 2 schemed for $4.25M at 3,321 dates. The first film’s ultimate gross was about $210M with $117.5M from domestic. We’ll know more tomorrow, but typically, numbers run lower on the Thanksgiving Thursday with attention turned to food, family and football, while Fridays see upticks.
Mockingjay has a lot to live up to given that last year’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire set an all-time record for any film, opener or second-framer, playing the Thanksgiving five-day with $109.9M. Although it’s come in lower domestically than its predecessor, Mockingjay has been voracious at the international box office, last weekend running 5%-19% above Catching Fire in most major markets. The Penguins, meanwhile, have been off to a good start in China with a cume through Sunday of $23.3M and two more weeks to run there — while the film plays against Interstellar. Along with North America, it opens in 40+ markets this weekend. Horrible Bosses 2 is also making its international debut in about 45 markets and is expected to outperform the first Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston comedy. But it could have a bear of a time in the UK where the glowingly-reviewed Paddington is pulling into the station.
I’ll have Thursday numbers tomorrow, and the regular domestic box office crew will take you through the weekend beginning Saturday while I focus on overseas. Happy Thanksgiving!