Late Friday night estimates: Decorating Christmas trees, watching light shows, getting into the holiday party scene, or maybe even watching NBC’s Peter Pan Live! on a DVR — these are some of the activities people were doing last night instead of seeing a movie. Versus Black Friday a week ago, a number of major studio releases dropped in a big way – in the 70% range. Katniss is still No. 1, and will easily be No. 1 for the weekend with $22M (among third frames, that’s $4M off from Catching Fire, and $11M off from Hunger Games). With an industry estimate of $6.65M (Lionsgate sees it at being $90K lower this morning at $6.56M), her third Friday for Mockingjay – Part 1 is expected to be only 16% off from Catching Fire’s third Friday of $7.77M, which isn’t too shabby. However, the Friday following Black Friday does take a toll a film’s business: Mockingjay is off by 49% from Hunger Games third Friday, which was in April, of $12.8M. Horrible Bosses 2 looks to be coming in second on Friday with an anticipated $2.5M (Update Saturday AM: Warner Bros. sees HB2 at $2.7M, down 56% from a week ago — not too bad among films in the top 10), however, by Sunday, the sequel will be trailing its first installment by Sunday by as much as 40%. Still with a budget of $42M, it’s obvious Warner Bros./New Line were keeping their overhead low so as to ultimately be in the black. Friday night isn’t prime time for animated films like Big Hero 6 and Penguins (Saturday AM update: Disney sees $1.8M for BH6 and Fox sees $2.38M for D’Works Animation’s Penguins), but matinees should push the latter to No. 2 for the weekend. Fox’s limited release of sci-fi horror pic The Pyramid looks to be on track toward a $1M weekend take, slotting eighth Friday with an industry estimate of $483K (Saturday AM update: Fox reports $458K).
When Sunday arrives, the award-contending films in limited release and geared to heady adults, are the titles that will ultimately best the holiday B.O. blues of this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s Wild is expected to mint $170K from 21 venues last night (Saturday update: Searchlight reporting $165K), a seven fold boost over Thursday when it was in just New York and LA. The weekend should come in between $534K-$579K, which is still healthy, for a good trek down the awards season trail. Putting Wild in perspective: Black Swan launched during the same droopy weekend four years ago, squawking up a $1.4M opening in a similar amount of theaters, 18, for an $80K theater average, which was a high for Searchlight at the time. Both titles largely cater to a female audience, so why the difference? They’re two different movies. Black Swan was a psycho thriller, and it was easy for chicks to hook their boyfriends into the theater for the ride, which contributed to its cross-over success from arthouses to the multiplexes, ultimately taking in $107M stateside. Furthermore, Black Swan had the extra benefit by the time it bowed of having some awards season traction with four Independent Spirit nominations and an actress win for co-star Mila Kunis at the Venice Film Festival.
Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times bestselling memoir, has enjoyed strong buzz for Reese Witherspoon’s raw performance since bowing at Telluride and the Toronto International Film Festival, despite being overlooked by the Indie Spirts. It’s largely a woman vs. nature drama in the same way that Searchlight’s 127 Hours and Paramount Vantage’s Into the Wild were man vs. Mother Nature. When the dust settles on Monday morning, Wild will have posted a slightly higher first weekend than 127 Hours second FSS of $439K — an appropriate comp given how that film was in 18 theaters at that point in time in November 2010. Reese Witherspoon has been working it, granting early interviews to Entertainment Weekly for their fall movie preview, landing on the cover of Glamour and working the talk show circuit with appearances on Good Morning America and The Tonight Show. She’s also fueled her exposure this season as the producer of Gone Girl (which continues to stay afloat in the top 10 as David Fincher’s highest grossing film of his career; with $161.7M in the U.S./Canada and $335M worldwide). Coincidentally, recent outdoor dramas Into the Wild directed by Sean Penn and 127 Hours both ended their domestic B.O. at $18.3M. Hopefully, Wild can beat that: Critics awarded it a 92% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, just a tad under 127 Hours‘ 93% fresh and well above Into the Wild‘s 82%.
People returned to see Nightcrawler in its re-release, spending $283K per late Friday night estimates (Saturday update: Open Road says $310K). The Jake Gyllenhaal thriller is heading toward a $30M domestic B.O. by the end of the end of this weekend. Meanwhile, Roadside Attractions distribution of Tommy Lee Jones’ western The Homesman saw a 104 theater expansion, which lassoed its highest Friday to date since bowing on Nov. 14 with $154K. Saban acquired the Europa Corp. film out of Cannes.
Below are the industry top 10 estimates as of late Friday night by Deadline box office statistican Amanda Nduka:
1). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (LGF), 4,054 theaters (-97) /$6.65M Fri. (-73%)/ 3-day cume: $22.8M (-60%)/ Total cume: $258M/Wk 3
2). The Penguins Of Madagascar (FOX), 3,775 theaters (11)/ $2.36M Fri. (-77%) / 3-day cume: $10.6M (-58%)/ Total cume: $49.1M / Wk 2
3). Horrible Bosses 2 (WB), 3,400 theaters (+25) / $2.5M Fri. (-60%)/ 3-day cume: $8.6M (-44%)/ Total cume: $36M / Wk 2
4). Big Hero 6 (DIS), 3,168 theaters (-197) / $1.7M Fri.(-78%) / 3-day cume: $7.6M (-60%)/ Total cume: $177.1M /Wk 5
5). Interstellar (PAR), 3,028 theaters (-38) / $2M Fri. (-70%)/ 3-day cume: $7.1M (-55%) / Total cume: $158M / Wk 5
6). Dumb and Dumber To (UNI), 3,086 theaters (-44) / $1.1M Fri. (-67%)/3-day cume: $3.7M (-57%)/ Total cume: $77.4M /Wk 4
7). The Theory Of Everything (FOC), 826 theaters (+24) / $754K Fri.(-61%) / 3-day cume: $2.6M (-48%)/ Total cume: $13.6M / Wk 5
8). Gone Girl (FOX), 1,205 theaters (+31) / $410K Fri. (-59%)/ 3-day cume: $1.4M (-43%)/ Total cume: $162.8M / Wk 10
9/10). Birdman (FSL), 738 theaters (+28) / $297K Fri. (-60%)/3-day cume: $1.1M (-41%)/ Total cume: $18.9M /Wk 8
The Pyramid (FOX), 589 theaters/ $438K Fri. / 3-day cume: $1.1M /Wk 1
Nightcrawler (OPR), 1,257 theaters (+687)/$283K (-15%)/3-day cume: $986K (+17%)/Total cume:$29.9
The Homesman (RSA), 154 theaters (+104) / $154K Fri. (+95%) / 3-day cume: $573K(+165%) / Total cume: $1.1M / Wk 4
Wild (FSL), 21 theaters / $170K Fri. (+697% over Thursday) / 3-day cume: $560K / Per Screen Avg: $26K/ Total cume: $607K/ Wk 1 Bowed Wednesday
Foxcatcher (SPC), 75 theaters (+3) / $127K Fri. / 3-day cume: $461K (-55%)/ Total Cume: $2.7M/ Wk 4
The Imitation Game (TWC), 8 theaters (+4) / $108K Fri. (-40%)/ 3-day cume: $392K (-18%)/ Per Screen Avg: $49K/ Total cume: $1M/ Wk 2