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‘Hunger Games’ still tops in N.America after ‘Napoleon’ invades

By AFP - Nov 28,2023 - Last updated at Nov 28,2023

From left to right :US actor Peter Dinklage, US actress Viola Davis, US actor Josh Andres Rivera, British actor Tom Blyth, US actress Rachel Zegler, US actress Hunter Schafer, US actor Jason Schwartzman and US singer Olivia Rodrigo attend the premiere of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 13 (AFP photo)

LOS ANGELES — The “Hunger Games” prequel stayed atop the North American box office over the long US Thanksgiving weekend, fending off an invasion by new Ridley Scott film “Napoleon”, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported on Sunday.

Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” took in an estimated $42 million from Wednesday through Sunday — boosted by Thanksgiving holiday moviegoers — and $28.8 million for the usual Friday-through-Sunday period.

This fifth in the “Hunger Games” series stars Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler and Peter Dinklage in a story about the 10th Hunger Games in the dystopian state of Panem.

In second place was the latest take on the “Napoleon” epic, this one from Sony, with ticket sales of $32.5 million for the five-day weekend and $20.4 million for three days.

“This is a good opening for a period epic action adventure,” said analyst David A. Gross, who noted the “pedigree” of director Ridley Scott and strong leads in Joaquin Phoenix, as the French emperor, and Vanessa Kirby, as Empress Josephine.

The European setting should help the movie “over-perform abroad”, Gross said. But the film had an “enormous” production budget of $200 million, he noted, and has generated lukewarm reviews, with many French critics panning historical inaccuracies.

Disney, meantime, did not quite get its “Wish” with the release of the lavish animation by that name. It took in $31.7 million for five days and $19.5 for three, which Gross said was roughly half what similar films have earned in the past.

“The struggle is real for the $200M animated film, and the Magic Kingdom itself,” Exhibitor Relations said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Wish” follows another disappointing opening for Disney; “The Marvels” recently saw the lowest debut ever in the studio’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Featuring the voices of Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine, “Wish” tells the story of King Magnifico, who from his island kingdom grants one wish a month.

In fourth, down two spots from last weekend, was Universal’s animated musical comedy “Trolls Band Together”. Led by voice actors Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, it sold $25.3 million in tickets for five days, and $17.6 million for three.

And in fifth was Sony slasher film “Thanksgiving”, at $11 million for five days and $7.2 million for three. Patrick Dempsey and Addison Rae star.


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