While its not particularly unusual for the post-Thanksgiving box office to see a lull, this weekend’s final tally makes the word “lull” something of an understatement. According to a box office analysis at Deadline, this past weekend’s final box office numbers put it in the neighborhood of between $77-79 million. Presuming that figure changes very little by Monday morning, this will be the lowest post-holiday box office gross since December of 1998. That year, the post-Thanksgiving box office was led by Disney and Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, Gus Van Sant’s remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the Will Smith action vehicle Enemy of the State, Nickelodeon’s The Rugrats Movie, and the Adam Sandler comedy The Waterboy.
The low numbers could be due to any number of factors, with some blaming a weak lineup of films that consist of a lot of sequels, the fact that Thanksgiving weekend itself was already relatively soft for the year, as well as the presence of arthouse films that, while generally critical darlings, do very little for the overall box office tally. Normally, recognition from the upcoming awards season may increase the box office takes of some of those arthouse films, but because the hard push for awards season hasn’t fully kicked in yet, the films (like Birdman) can’t exactly benefit from buzz that doesn’t exactly exist yet.
The other news from the box office this week is that Mockingjay has claimed the box office crown for the third week in a row, which in this instance, unfortunately isn’t saying too much. Compared with the other films in the top 10 — including Horrible Bosses 2, The Penguins of Madagascar, Interstellar, and Dumb and Dumber To — Mockingjay is the only blockbuster franchise sequel present in theaters this weekend, which kind of places it in a default position for box office champion.
Next weekend’s only major release is Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, while internationally The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies will be released five days ahead of its domestic premiere date. We’ll have to see if this December lull can be shaken off by the likes of Moses and Bilbo in the coming weeks.
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