Thanksgiving newcomers "Horrible Bosses 2" and "Penguins of Madagascar" likely will fly behind last weekend's box office winner, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1."
This Thanksgiving may not fare as well. The 2014 box office has been down overall, with films experiencing smaller debuts across the board.
"Mockingjay - Part 1" opened to $123 million last weekend, surpassing the $100-million debut of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to become this year's biggest opening to date.
The opening installment of the two-part finale of the blockbuster franchise follows heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 as she transforms into the Mockingjay, a symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol.
It earned a high A-minus rating from audience polling firm CinemaScore and a decent 66% "fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Although some critics called it a solid segue, others complained that the two-part approach to the finale feels like a cheap cash-in.
Unsurprisingly, the young adult franchise has drawn audiences largely younger than 25. Based on the bestselling novels by Suzanne Collins, the "Hunger Games" movies have been huge hits for Santa Monica-based Lionsgate.
Younger audiences and families likely will flock to see "Penguins of Madagascar," the spinoff of DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar" franchise distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.
The PG-rated film follows the penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private as they work with undercover organization the North Wind to stop Dr. Ocavius Brine from destroying the world. Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich voice some of the animated characters.
By comparison, the third installment in the PG-rated "Madagascar" franchise opened with a solid $60.4 million in 2012. "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" opened with $63.1 million in 2008 and ultimately collected $603.9 million worldwide.
According to Fandango, the nation's largest online movie ticket company, "Penguins of Madagascar" scored 87 out of 100 points on the movie buzz indicator, coming in second to "Mockingjay - Part 1"'s score of 90.
Of the 1,000 "Penguins" ticket buyers surveyed, 85% said they have seen all three previous "Madagascar" films with their kids and 83% said they plan to see the movie as part of a Thanksgiving weekend outing.
The studio hopes the film will gross between $45 million to $49 million over the long weekend.
The raunchy, R-rated “Horrible Bosses 2” brings back comedic trio Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day). The Sean Anders-directed film, which cost about $43 million to make, also stars Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Fox and
It will likely appeal to an older crowd and fans of its predecessor. In 2011, "Horrible Bosses" collected a solid $28.1 million in its opening weekend. It was well reviewed and well received by audiences.
Warner Bros. hopes the comedy sequel will pull in $40 million through Sunday.