In third place with expected results was Sony’s family musical, Annie, debuting to the tune of $16.3 million. That’s not a bad total for the genre, especially given the tepid reviews and unappealing ads. However, with another big musical set for box office prosperity on Thursday (Into the Woods), the film may not have the same longevity as the third Night at the Museum. Among similar family-aimed titles based on older properties released near Christmas, it performed better than Charlotte’s Web from 2006 ($11.4 million) and around the same as Yogi Bear ($16.4 million). Both of those films ended up taking in more than six times their opening weekend. With that in mind, if word-of-mouth can remain strong, Annie could be in line for a $100 million gross.
Meanwhile, audiences had their own exodus from Ridley Scott’s latest, which dropped a gargantuan 67% in its second weekend. With only an $8.1 million take, Exodus: Gods and Kings is clearly suffering from poor word-of-mouth and hefty competition. That is even harsher than the big 61% drop than Noah saw in its second weekend. Its drop is similar to the hefty collapses of December FX-ridden flicks The Golden Compass (-66% to $8.8 million in its sophomore weekend) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (-68% to $9.9 million over the same frame). Scott’s 3D action/adventure has only earned $38.9 million so far and may not even get to $75 million, even with the holidays coming up.
In fifth place with a better-than-expected hold was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Despite three openers aimed at younger crowds taking in close to $90 million, this three-week box office champ slid only 39% to earn $7.8 milion. With a $289.2 million total so far, it is still 22% behind the pace of Catching Fire, but continues to make almost the same each day as its predecessor. From here in its box office run, Catching Fire earned another $53 million. Mockingjay – Part 1 needs about $45 million to top Guardians of the Galaxy as 2014’s biggest film. With the Christmas holidays in its midst, that is certainly possible.
With so much attention devoted to Peter Jackson’s action-packed finales, there was not much room for awards favorites to breathe. The Reese Witherspoon drama Wild expanded to more than 1,000 theaters and finished with a mild $4.2 million to take sixth place. The film now has a total of $7.2 million. On the other hand, The Imitation Game continued its dazzling climb in limited release. It earned nearly $900,000 and has amassed more than $3 million from 34 cinemas or fewer. With strong buzz and 5 Golden Globe nominations, the film should performed admirably over the coming holiday weeks.
Here are the numbers for the Top 10 films at the North American box office for the weekend of December 19 through 21, 2014:
1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – $56.2 million ($90.6 million total)
2. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb – $17.3 million (NEW)
3. Annie – $16.3 million (NEW)
4. Exodus: Gods and Kings – $8.1 million ($38.9 million)
5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – $7.8 million ($289.2 million total)
6. Wild – $4.2 million ($7.2 million total)
7. Top Five – $3.6 million ($12.5 million total)
8. Big Hero 6 – $3.6 million ($190.4 million total)
9. The Penguins of Madagascar – $3.5 million ($64.2 million total)
10. P.K. – $3.5 million (NEW)
NOTE: These numbers are weekend estimates based on Friday and Saturday’s estimated takes. Actual numbers for the three-day weekend are reported on Monday afternoon.