It was once again a slow weekend at the American box office as lack of major releases induced audiences to line up for yet another course of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The Lionsgate sequel is the top film in North America for the third time in a row, earning $20.6 million to reach a domestic cumulative of $257.7 million.
By this time last year The Hunger Games previous installment Catching Fire had
earned $335.8 million and would go on to become the biggest domestic release of 2013. Mockingjay’s chances of reaching those heights are slim, though having passed The Lego Movie and being just a few million away from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it may come uncomfortably close to Guardians of the Galaxy’s $332.2 million benchmark for
Mockingjay added $31.6 million from 86 markets to reach a foreign cumulative of $302.8 million. The biggest difficulty in its international run will be a postponed Chinese release. Due to the current civil unrest in Hong Kong, PRC officials elected to postpone this film about a popular uprising until January 2015, by which time the Chinese government hopes the turmoil will have subsided.
20th Century Fox’s The Pyramid made a mid-sized domestic debut on 550 screens, earning $1.15 million for its troubles. This horror film received very limited marketing and was supposed to have been quite cheap so this won’t be too significant of a loss.
Hollywood’s only new wide release over the last frame was Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, which opened in ten international territories. Far from being lost in the desert, this biblical thriller made a respectable $23.1 million in its limited opening run and finished fourth overall overseas.
Mexico turned in a hearty $4.7 million while Spain was good for $3.76 million. South Korea was the site of this film’s greatest success. It overtook long time champion Interstellar to claim top spot with a $6.2 million opening weekend. Hong Kong produced $1.2 million, while Singapore was good for $1.15 million. It also managed a decent $1.6 million in India’s remarkably untapped film market.
A U.S. release is scheduled for next weekend where Fox hopes the growing holiday fervor will ferry this Abrahamic epic to a tidy domestic opening.
Second place overall on the foreign chart went to Chinese production Fleet of Time. This coming of age tale based on a popular novel of the same name earned $29 million from its home market debut.
Third place went to The Penguins of Madagascar. DreamWorks’ CGI spinoff had a modest second international run, earning $23.5 million from 49 territories. It finished first in Russia with $4.26 million and repeated the feat in Italy, where it earned $1.9 million.
In the UK it was third on $2.48 million, landing behind Mockingjay and British animated feature Paddington.
This adaptation of the popular Paddington Bear children’s book series earned $5.84 million in its home market for its second consecutive top finish and made sixth on the international chart with $13 million from 19 territories.
Interstellar placed third overall and fifth overseas with $8 million domestic and $22.8 million international. In China it reached $119.2 million and set some noteworthy records. It is now the highest grossing 2D film and Warner Bros.’ biggest release to date in the Middle Kingdom.
On the specialty market, awards hopeful Wild, starring a reinvented Reese Witherspoon, opened to a very decent $630 thousand in 21 theatres for a $30 thousand per screen average. Alan Turning bio The Imitation Game earned $401 thousand from a careful expansion into eight theatres for an outstanding average of $50.2 thousand per screen.
Exodus: Gods and Kings will make its domestic debut next weekend, along with Chris Rock’s comedy Top Five, while The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies launches in 40 international territories.