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'Hunger Games' likely to reign over 'Krampus' at box-office

'Hunger Games' likely to reign over 'Krampus' at box-office
From left, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Evan Ross and Jennifer Lawrence take on the Capitol in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2." (Murray Close / AP)

The Thanksgiving holiday was a box-office feast for studios and movie theaters, but this weekend the film industry will mainly have to settle for leftovers.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2" is expected to take the top spot at the North American box-office for the third weekend in a row, followed by last week's new entrants "The Good Dinosaur" and "Creed."

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The only new major movie in the running this week is "Krampus," a Christmas-themed horror-comedy from Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette. It's expected to gross $10 million to $14 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys.

Shawn Robbins, senior analyst at BoxOffice.com, said "Krampus" could do solid business in the coming weeks but probably won't top last weekend's hits with its opening. The first week of December is typically a slow one for multiplexes.

"We think ['Krampus'] will compete, but it will pretty much be a weekend for the holdovers," Robbins said.

Critics' reviews weren't out for "Krampus" as of Tuesday, but the studios hope the holiday timing of the release and the unusual concept for the PG-13 movie will draw horror and comedy fans alike.

Based on an ancient Alpine Christmas legend, "Krampus" follows a modern dysfunctional family whose holiday celebration is beset by the demonic, goat-like counterpart to St. Nicholas. It's tracking best among people under the age of 25.

"Krampus" was not an expensive investment on the part of the studios. It cost just $15 million to make.

Likely leading the pack once again, the "Hunger Games" finale could pick up an additional $25 million Friday through Sunday. It hasn't performed as well as "Part 1," though it has already crossed the $200-million mark domestically. The Jennifer Lawrence film has grossed about $445 million worldwide so far.

"The Good Dinosaur," the latest computer-animated family offering from Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar, opened to $55.5 million in its first five days in theaters after opening Wednesday and should also have a strong showing this go-around. Benefiting from strong reviews and a generally positive response from moviegoers, the prehistoric tale could generate around $20 million this weekend.

Meanwhile, the critically lauded "Rocky" spinoff "Creed" is expected to stay in the ring with about $15 million in domestic ticket sales. It opened over the five-day Thanksgiving period with a strong $42.1 million, topping many industry estimates with the help of an impressive score of 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning the vast majority of critics liked it. Its success has been a welcome relief for distributor Warner Bros. after a year of weak performers, including "Pan."

"Creed," starring Michael B. Jordan as the son of Rocky Balboa's longtime opponent Apollo Creed, was co-financed by New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

This weekend will also mark the debut of the faith-based drama "The Letters," based on the life of Mother Teresa, in more than 900 theaters.

The box office is entering a relatively quiet period ahead of the much-anticipated release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" on Dec. 18. Between now and then, the only other major wide releases are the Ron Howard-directed adventure "In the Heart of the Sea" — based on a story that inspired the Herman Melville classic "Moby Dick" — and "Legend," starring Tom Hardy as a pair of identical twin gangsters in 1960s Britain.

Also debuting this week is Spike Lee's new film "Chi-Raq," a modern retelling of the Greek satire "Lysistrata" set against the backdrop of gang and gun violence in Chicago.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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