Los Angeles — The Hunger Games finale spoiled an early Christmas for the holiday horror comedy Krampus to maintain its top spot at the North American box office for the third week running.The Jennifer Lawrence-led film took in an estimated $18.6m in the U.S. and Canada, bringing its domestic total to $227m, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.The anti-Santa Claus thriller from Universal, the only film to debut in the top 10 this week, brought in $16m.The normally slow weekend following Thanksgiving was up 26 % from a year ago thanks to the fresh material from Universal, which slipped in between the release of two huge franchise movies— The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, and Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, which is due out 18 December."Even though it's horror at its base, you needed to have enough time for the film to open and lead up to Christmas," said Nicholas Carpou, Universal Pictures' president of domestic distribution. "Being the only wide commercial release on this date really did wonders for this film."
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Modestly budgeted for under $15m, Krampus is likely to add to the profits of what has been a record year for Universal following the release of movies like Jurassic World" Furious 7, and Minions.Meanwhile, the final movie installment for bow-wielding Katniss pushed past $500m worldwide, another hit for Lionsgate, which has staked its claim on the young adult market. It hopes to keep rolling with its franchise film strategy with Allegiant, the third film in the Divergent series due out in March.Creed, the boxing film where Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa, came third, and the Disney/Pixar animated tale The Good Dinosaur came fourth. Each had around $15.5m in ticket sales.Overall ticket sales are running 4% ahead of last year and are on track to top $11bn in the U.S. and Canada for the first time, said Rentrak's senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.Dergarabedian says it remains to be seen whether the global excitement around J.J. Abrams' Star Wars will drown out a bevy of other options coming out later this year.
That ranges from director Alejandro Inarritu's The Revenant to the Amy Poehler and Tina Fey-led comedy, Sisters, which has knowingly marketed its film with a Star Wars parody trailer and the hashtag #youcanseethemboth.
Among other films competing for attention in the coming weeks are: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, the Will Smith-led football movie Concussion, and Joy, an underdog tale that reunites stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper with American Hustle director David O. Russell."Hopefully the rising tide of Star Wars will raise all movies," Dergarabedian said.
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