Following a profitable Thanksgiving five-day break for the industry, moviegoers settled for leftovers at the nation's multiplexes. However, newcomer horror-comedy "Krampus" scared up surprisingly good results, finishing behind front-runner "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2" and in front of crowd-pleaser "Creed."
The Christmas-themed Krampus," from Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures, scored an estimated $16 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada for its premiere, beating analyst expectations.
"This weekend tends to be a cooling period," said Nick Carpou, Universal's president of domestic distribution. "But along comes something like 'Krampus,' which is a fresh take on a holiday movie, promising horror and bit of fun and comedy, and audiences respond."
Based on an ancient Alpine Christmas legend, "Krampus, starring Adam Scott and Toni Colette, follows a modern dysfunctional family whose holiday celebration is overturned by the demonic, goat-like counterpart to St. Nicholas. With a budget just over $15 million, the film registered a B- from audience polling firm CinemaScore and a 63% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics.
Still, "Krampus," couldn't dethrone Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" finale. In its third week, the Lionsgate film based on Suzanne Collins' novels, added another $18.6 million to its domestic total, despite continuing to fall under analyst expectations week to week. Despite the downturn, "Mockingjay -- Part 2" has surpassed the $200-million mark domestically. Globally, the film continues to perform well, grossing almost $524 million to date.
The New Line Cinema and MGM-financed "Rocky" spinoff "Creed", which debuted strongly last week, continues to have a winning punch, taking the third spot this week. Pulling in over $15 million in sales, "Creed" has now topped $65 million in North America. The Warner Bros.-distributed picture by director Ryan Coogler is a welcome relief for the distributor after a year of weak performers, including "Pan."
With an impressive 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A grade from CinemaScore, "Creed" stars Michael B. Jordan as the son of Rocky Balboa's longtime opponent Apollo Creed. Both Jordan and Sylvester Stallone's reprise of his iconic "Rocky" character, have garnered critical acclaim.
"Creed" edged out fourth-place finisher "The Good Dinosaur," the latest computer-animated offering from Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar. The prehistoric family picture garnered over $15 million as well in its second week, inching closer to the $76-million domestic gross mark.
Internationally, the film crossed $100 million as it continues to play strongest in Latin America with good showings in France, Germany and Southeast Asia.
Rounding out the top five was Sony's "Spectre." The James Bond adventure continues to be a box office staple in its fifth week, taking in over $5 million for a domestic gross to date over $184 million.
On the limited release front, Spike Lee's latest "Chi-Raq" opened Friday in 305 locations, distributed by Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios. The modern adaptation of Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" against a backdrop of gang and gun violence in Chicago pulled in an estimated $1.3 million. Starring Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, the film, which sparked controversy even before its release, will continue in theaters before being available on Amazon Prime users in the coming months.
Open Road's "Spotlight" and Fox Searchlight's "Brooklyn", both prompting awards buzz, continue to perform well to their audiences, taking the eighth ($2.9 million) and ninth ($2.4 million) spots, respectively, at the box office. The Weinstein Co.'s "Carol" was the per-screen average leader for the third weekend straight with $147,241 on four screens, averaging 36,810 per screen.
This weekend started 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.