Box Office: 'Mockingjay' Rules Quiet Weekend With $21.6 Million

With no new wide releases this weekend, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 topped the North American box office for the third time in a row with $21.6 million, bringing its North American total to $257.7 million for a global cume of $560.5 million.

Mockingjay is on the brink of passing Captain America: The Winter Solider ($259.7 million) to become the No. 2 title of the year to date after  Guardians of the Galaxy ($332 million), even as it continues to trail behind last year’s  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is historically slow as Hollywood studios recover from Thanksgiving and prepare for the Christmas crush, but this year was worse than usual. Revenue was down more than 17 percent from last year when Frozen placed No. 1 with $31.6 million, and Catching Fire No. 2 with $26.2 million.

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DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar stayed at No. 2 in in its second outing with $11.1 million for a domestic total of $49.6 million, less than DWA would like. The animated family film fell 56 percent.

Horrible Bosses 2 placed No. 3, falling 44 percent to $8.6 million for a domestic cume of $36.1 million, well behind the first Horrible Bosses.

Disney’s Big Hero 6, posing tough competition for Penguins, and Paramount’s Interstellar rounded out the top five. Big Hero 6 took in north of $8 million in its fifth weekend, pushing its North American total past $177 million.

Found-footage horror pic The Pyramid, opening in only 589 theaters, failed to wow, earning only $1.4 million.

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There was, however, action at the specialty box office as awards season heats up.

Jean-Marc Vallee's Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, quickly hit its stride, grossing $630,000 from 21 theaters for location average of $30,000 and five-day debut of $677,238 (it opened Wednesday). The Fox Searchlight drama is based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir of hiking more than 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, and many expect Witherspoon to earn an Oscar nomination for best actress.

Fellow awards contender The Imitation Game continued to impress in its second weekend. The Weinstein Co. entry, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as famed Enigma code-breaker Alan Turing, grossed roughly $402,000 from eight theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $50,196 and cume of $1 million.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Foxcatcher, now in its fourth weekend, grossed $574,727 as it expanded into a total of 75 theaters for a location average of $7,663 and domestic total of $2.8 million. Directed by Bennett Miller, the boxing drama stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything and Birdman, both of which are playing nationwide, stayed in the top 10. Theory of Everything came in No. 7 with $2.7 million from 826 theaters for a U.S. cume of $13.6 million.