"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1," the Lionsgate sequel expected to win the Thanksgiving weekend box office race, began its holiday feast early by earning a studio-estimated $14.5 million on Wednesday, raising its cumulative U.S. and Canadian gross to an estimated $157.6 million.
The Times earlier reported that the film could add between $55 million and $60 million in ticket sales from Wednesday through Sunday, according to people who have seen prerelease audience surveys.
"Mockingjay" had a healthy lead Wednesday over the 20th Century Fox-distributed "Penguins of Madagascar," the spinoff of DreamWorks Animation’s "Madagascar" franchise. The PG-rated film opened to an estimated $6.3 million Wednesday.
This time last year, the holiday box office exploded with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Disney's "Frozen." The films broke records previously held by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for the highest Thanksgiving weekend grosses.
"Frozen" pulled in $93 million over the five-day holiday. "Catching Fire," which was in its second weekend, added $110.2 million