LOS ANGELES • Rocky Balboa made a near-triumphant return to movie theatres over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, helping to bolster total domestic ticket sales by about 12 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
But even as Creed, the seventh movie in the Rocky series, turned out bigger crowds than Hollywood expected, another Thanksgiving entry, The Good Dinosaur, from Disney's Pixar Animation, arrived to ticket sales that were more gentle than giant.
And a third new wide release, Victor Frankenstein, bombed badly.
As expected, the No. 1 movie in North America was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (Lionsgate), which took in an estimated US$75.8 million (S$107 million) between Wednesday and Sunday, according to Rentrak, which compiles box-office data.
Part 2 has now taken in roughly US$441 million worldwide after 10 days of release, only 8 per cent less than the 10-day global total for Part 1.
The Good Dinosaur was a sturdy second, collecting an estimated US$55.6 million, a total that Disney described as the fourth-highest Thanksgiving opening on record. Even so, the total lagged pre-release analyst expectations and ranked as one of Pixar's quieter arrivals.
The Good Dinosaur, which cost at least US$200 million to make and received reviews on a par with Pixar entries such as Brave and Cars, was delayed because of production difficulties.
Its release marks the first time Pixar has delivered two films in one year; Inside Out arrived to stratospheric results in June.
The euphorically reviewed Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, sold about US$42.6 million in tickets, triple the initial total for the last movie in the series, Rocky Balboa, which was released in 2006, and at least 20 per cent more than analysts had expected.
Creed, which came in at No. 3, cost US$35 million to make, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer overseeing production and Warner Bros taking the lead in marketing and distribution.
The holiday period had some casualties. Fox's Victor Frankenstein was dead on the slab after earning a torpid US$3.4 million from 2,797 theatres over its first five days.
The attempt to revive Mary Shelley's monster story cost US$40 million to produce and starred James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. It took in just US$3.4 million over the holiday period.
NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS