By Chris Kavan - 11/25/13 at 12:20 AM CT
The question going into this weekend wasn't whether The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was going to be the top box office draw - the question was just how good it was going to open. While early estimates has some saying it could surpass the $174.1 million that Iron Man 3 brought in, Catching Fire wasn't quite up to that challenge. Yet it still managed to topple at least one record and, depending on final numbers, could become the highest opening for any 2D film in history.
1) THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
The might of Katniss and company was enough to propel the film to a $161.1 million opening. That represents the best November opening for any film, easily topping previous record-holder The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.9 million). The sequel also bested the original Hunger Games, which opened to a stronger-than-expected $152.5 million when it premiered. If the final numbers hold, Catching Fire will be the 4th-highest opening on record and will also be the best opening for any 2D only film - through estimates are very close to The Dark Knight ($160.9 million) and it could fall just short of that mark when the final numbers are tallied. Even if it doesn't get that record, it's on pace to have an excellent run. The audience was split between those over and under 25 - and it brought in 59% female audience (down slightly from the 61% Hunger Games brought in) but, more importantly, it was awarded an "A" cinemascore - and if word of mouth is as good as the reviews, it should have not problem breaking the $400 million mark. One reason the movie may not have been able to fully compete with The Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Harry Potter is the lack of 3D screens. But the movie did play well in IMAX, where it brought in $12.6 million of its total. All in all, the movie should have no problem playing well in the coming weeks - and most likely will face no real competition until The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug drops on Dec. 13.
2) THOR: THE DARK WORLD
The girl on fire stole pretty much all the thunder from Thor: The Dark World. The Marvel hero saw a hefty 61% decline from its second weekend and wound up with a $14.1 million total.. To date, the film has brought in $167.8 million and while the film is still on track to reach the $200 million mark, chances are it's not going to rise much higher when all is said and done.
3) THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY
Although The Best Man Holiday opened strong and had a great "A+" Cinemascore rating, it still wasn't enough to prevent a steep drop. Taking a 58% hit, the film brought in $12.5 million, raising its total to $50.4 million. That's a great return on a $17 million film - and there's already word that another sequel is in the works.
4) DELIVERY MAN
The weekend's other new wide-release film, Vince Vaughn's Delivery Man, failed to stir up much interest. The story of man who unwittingly became the father to 553 children via sperm donation wound up with just $8.2 million. That is less than half of The Internship and The Dilemma and even lower than The Watch ($12.8 million). Vaughn has been struggling as of late, and Delivery Man may mean his routine has finally run its course. Although modestly budgeted at $26 million, at this point the film will be lucky to hit that mark. Audiences did award the film a "B+" Cinemascore, but the good vibes aren't likely to translate to a steady run in theaters as I predict the film has two good weeks at best before it's forgotten.
5) FREE BIRDS
Those free range time-traveling turkeys managed to stay in the top five with a $5.3 million showing. The animated film has held up quite well given its lukewarm reception and now stands at $48.6 million and will breach the $50 million total by this time next week (and may even get a slight boost thanks to the Thanksgiving theme). For a stinker of a family film, it will have no problem hitting its $55 million budget.
Outside the top five: After seven weeks in theaters, the Tom Hanks drama Captain Phillips just managed to cross the $100 million mark. Taking in $1.82 million (12th place), the hijacking film now stands a $100.7 million.
Other milestones of note include Last Vegas taking in $4.4 million and moving it past the $50 million mark. The over-the-hill bachelor party has brought in $53.9 million.
Next week Catching Fire will face off against Disney's latest offering, Frozen, as well as Spike Lee's Oldboy, the gospel-themed Black Nativity and the action film Homefront. With Thanksgiving on Thursday, almost all new film open Wednesday, so look for a special early edition of the theater roundup that day.