The Hunger Games continues to win at the box office: Mockingjay placed first this weekend with an estimated $21.6 million — $10 million more than the second place film, Penguins of Madagascar. Mockingjay has now grossed $257.7 million domestically and $560.5 million worldwide.
The Hunger Games series proved its staying power with its two previous films, so it’s not surprising that Mockingjay is still at number one three weeks past its release. Mockingjay benefits from star power (Jennifer Lawrence! Julianne Moore! Woody Harrelson!), family friendliness, and established popularity. Even so, its box office power is less attributable to esteem for the franchise than to the fact that it doesn’t have much competition right now.
Penguins and Horrible Bosses 2 both came out last weekend, but neither have the same appeal as Mockingjay. Penguins is a DreamWorks animated film that is splitting its audience with Disney’s Big Hero 6, which reached theaters first and has generated overwhelmingly positive reviews from both critics to audiences. Horrible Bosses 2 is an adult-oriented sequel to a so-so original. That it’s not performing as well as its predecessor may be because it’s a crude comedy that was released during the season of taking your family to the films, or just because adult moviegoers would rather spend time watching the darker, longer Interstellar and Mockingjay.
Audiences did prove they were willing to spend the three hours watching Interstellar over Thanksgiving weekend, as the Christopher Nolan film experienced a jump in ticket sales from the weekend before. It wasn’t so lucky this weekend—it saw a 50% decrease in sales, bringing its weekend total to $8 million.
Big Hero 6 finished just ahead of Interstellar with $8.1 million — meaning that when Exodus and Top Five hit theaters next weekend, Hero and Interstellar will probably be battling it out for fifth place.
While there weren’t any films with a wide release this weekend, there were a few smaller debuts: Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon and based on Cheryl Strayed’s book of the same name, opened in 21 theaters and grossed $630,000, and The Pyramid opened with $1.35 million in about 589 locations.