1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (review here)- $101M
Unsurprisingly, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 led the way with $101M, easily besting the new competition this week. But a closer look shows that the franchise lost a considerable amount of steam along the way. The fourth film, the second half of a story most believe shouldn't have been split in the first place, had the lowest debut weekend of them all. Right behind it is Mockingjay Part 1, showing that audiences may have grown bored of the rebellion's fight against the Capitol, or that they were only attracted by the spectacle of the Hunger Games themselves, not necessarily the overarching plot. With $247M already reeled in globally Lionsgate may not worry themselves too much about the domestic breakdown, though.
2. Spectre- $14.6M/$153.7M
3. The Peanuts Movie- $12.8M/$98.9M
4. The Night Before (review here)- $10.1M
The upside of The Night Before's mediocre $10.1M debut is that it's such a hilarious holiday film that those who saw it will spread the word. There's always room for another Christmas comedy to become an annual classic, and I think this will sit right alongside Bad Santa for those who like their holiday cheer spiked. The film stars Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Shannon in an unforgettable supporting role, so it's got likable stars all around, but few in the way of proven box office champs with the exception of Rogen. The problem is the marketing, which was pretty terrible, but good word of mouth could carry it far into the holidays.
5. Secret In Their Eyes (review here)- $6.6M
Well, this one was always going to be rough. Despite a cast led by Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Nicole Kidman, Secret In Their Eyes opened to a meager $6.6M. I'd say it was an audience revolt by those who loved the original, an Argentinian Oscar-winner from a few years, but the truth is many critics I talked to shamefully didn't know it was a remake. So chances are 99% of general audiences had no clue, either. Sadly, the trailers and the TV spots for this one made it look like a paint-by-numbers police procedural. There's quite a bit more to it than that but you'd never know it. Once again it's proof that our definition of A-list stars has become skewed. On the plus side it only cost $19M and it could fare better in international markets.
6. Love the Coopers- $3.9M/$14.9M
7. The Martian- $3.7M/$213M
8. Spotlight- $3.6M/$5.8M
9. The 33- $2.2/$9.9M
10. Bridge of Spies- $1.9M/$65.1M