“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the top movie at the U.S. box office since it opened three weeks ago, was No. 1 Friday, but its crown might be slipping.
Lionsgate’s Jennifer Lawrence sequel took in $7.7 million from a market-high 4,168 theaters, beating out “Frozen,” which is in its second week and took in $6.8 million from 3,742 mainly-3D locations. But the Disney Animation kids film could well overtake it Saturday, when the family crowd comes out. “Frozen” should wind up with around $28 million, while “Catching Fire” is looking at roughly $27 million.
On its current pace, “Catching Fire” will hit $335 million domestically and $600 million worldwide this weekend. “Frozen” is at $109 million domestically and $120 million globally.
Both movies took major 75 percent drops from last week’s strong Black Friday performances, which helped lift them to Thanksgiving weekend records. Those are steep plunges, but this is typically a very soft weekend at the box office, as moviegoers catch a breather between Thanksgiving and the Christmas crunch. Rough weather in Texas and parts of the Midwest didn’t help.
The only wide opener, Relativity Media’s R-rated Christian Bale drama “Out of the Furnace,” failed to ignite. It took in $1.8 million Friday from 2,101 theaters and is looking at roughly $5 million for the weekend, below expectations that were low to begin with.
The reviews have been so-so (52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and first-night audiences gave it just a “C+” CinemaScore, despite a strong supporting cast featuring Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard and Willem Dafoe.
Directed by Scott Cooper, “Out of the Furnace” was produced for $22 million by Ridley Scott and Leonard DiCaprio, along with Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Relativity chief Ryan Kavanaugh and Michael Costigan.
Also opening was Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Inside Lleweyn Davis,” which brought in $123,000 from four theaters Friday. That’s a very strong $30,835 per theater for CBS Films’ Oscar hopeful, which stars Oscar Isaac and was named Best Film this week at the Gotham Independent Film Awards earlier this week.
The big opening day projects to a weekend per-screen average of around $80,000 for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” comparable to the impressive four-screen debuts of 2010’s “The Fighter” ($75,000 average) and “The King’s Speech” ($88,862).
Disney movies “Thor: The Dark World” and “Delivery Man” were fourth and fifth, and the Jason Statham thriller “Homefront” was sixth. They’ll likely all finish the three days between $4.5 million and $3 million.
Fox added 82 more theaters to the run of “The Book Thief” and it brought in $757,000 from 1,316 locations. That’s was good for seventh place and a $575,00o per-theater average, and it will do around $2.7 million for the three days.
Just behind that in eighth was Universal’s “Best Man Holiday,” on a $2.6 million pace, followed by two other Oscar hopefuls.
The Weinstein Company’s Judi Dench drama “Philomena” took in $625,000 from 835 theaters, off 53 percent from last week, for an average of $749 per-screen average. It should wind up with around $2 million for the three days.
Focus added 38 theaters and the Matthew McConaughey-Jared Leto AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” took in $429,000 from 734 locations. That’s a $429,000 per-screen average and puts it on pace for a $1.4 million weekend.
TWC’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” starring Idris Elba, remained on four theaters in its second week and brought in $19,562 Friday. That’s $4,891 per theater and off 36 percent from last week.
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