Weekend Box Office: ‘Games’ Triumph

‘Thor’, the God of Thunder, was dethroned this weekend… by a girl! Out of the way, ‘Twilight’. Your $142.8 million November record has been smashed!

Even without 3D, ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire‘ debuted higher than the franchise’s first installment (which opened to $152.5 million in March 2013), and higher than any other Young Adult book-to-film adaptation yet. The movie’s $161.1 million domestic gross is the fourth-highest opening of all time, behind ‘The Avengers‘ ($207.4 million), ‘Iron Man 3‘ ($174.1 million) and ‘Harry Potter 7.2‘ ($169.2 million).

(Please note that all three of those titles had the added advantage of 3D ticket prices, while ‘Catching Fire’ did not.)

Overseas, ‘Catching Fire’ is also performing stronger than the first film. From 65 international markets, the sequel earned $146.6 million. Worldwide, the weekend yielded $307.7 million, which is pretty amazing when you consider that ‘The Hunger Games‘ finished its run last year with $691.2 million worldwide.

With ‘Catching Fire’ stealing away potential attendance, three-weekend-old ‘Thor: The Dark World‘ suffered a big drop of 61.4%. It pulled in another $14.1 million, bringing its 17-day total up to $167.8 million. Honestly, I expected the movie to perform a little stronger domestically than it has. On the other hand, the blockbuster is still killing it internationally, grossing $381 million to date.

The Best Man Holiday‘ fell nearly 60% in its second weekend, but its debut was so strong that the movie is already highly profitable. Shot for $17 million, the film’s $8.2 million second weekend pushed its ten-day total up to $50.3 million. With this success, a third ‘Best Man’ installment already rumored to be in the works.

Vince Vaughn placed the third consecutive nail in the coffin of his career this weekend (the first two being ‘The Watch‘ and ‘The Internship‘). ‘Delivery Man‘ marks the worst debut for a Vaughn movie opening on more than 1,000 screens. To be exact, from 3,036 locations, ‘Delivery Man’ opened to just $8.2 million.

A $5.3 million fourth weekend helped ‘Free Birds‘ round out the Top 5, and pushed its lifetime gross to $48.5 million.

Making up for Buena Vista’s loss on ‘Delivery Man’ was the one-screen opening of the family-friendly ‘Frozen‘, which opens wide this week. From that solitary screen (the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles), the animated musical earned a very impressive $238,000. You can catch ‘Frozen’ everywhere on Thanksgiving Eve.

The Weinstein Company’s four-screen release of the Oscar hopeful ‘Philomena‘ didn’t place on the box office charts, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t open well. Its $133,700 opening gave the drama a strong $33,425 per-screen average.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ (Lionsgate) – $161,125,000

2. ‘Thor: The Dark World’ (Buena Vista) – $14,117,000

3. ‘The Best Man Holiday’ (Universal) – $12,522,000

4. ‘Delivery Man’ (Buena Vista) – $8,215,000

5. ‘Free Birds’ (Relativity) – $5,300,000

6. ‘Last Vegas’ (CBS) – $4,400,000

7. ‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’ (Paramount) – $3,450,000

8. ‘Gravity’ (Warner Bros.) – $3,305,000

9. ’12 Years a Slave’ (Fox Searchlight) – $2,800,000

10. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ (Focus) – $2,770,000

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