Fresh combatants are joining the battle for the festive family audience in the shape of Penguins of Madagascar and Get Santa – but nothing could dislodge Paddington bear from the box-office podium. Paddington dropped a slim 25% on its second weekend, adding £3.84m for a 10-day tally of £10.33m. That puts it neck-and-neck with the pace set a year ago by the Disney animation Frozen, which stood at £10.30m at the same stage of its run.
Although Frozen feels season specific, it wasn’t exactly Christmas-themed and continued to play robustly after Boxing Day. Paddington is in the same boat, and so can play through New Year’s Day to the end of the school holiday and beyond.
In contrast, Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?! (£5.25m so far) and Get Santa (debut of £577,000) should see quick declines after Christmas Day. Home-grown family films for the festive season are fairly rare, so Get Santa is unlucky to be competing with two of them (Paddington and Nativity 3) as well as DreamWorks’ brand-established Penguins of Madagascar (debut of £1.58m) and rereleases of Frozen and The Polar Express.
Paddington was always going to be tough competition, but Get Santa’s backers may not have appreciated quite how tough. At least their film has a strong trailer opportunity, if distributor Warners can persuade cinemas to run the Get Santa clip at Paddington screenings.
Despite the popularity of the penguin characters in Madagascar, the spinoff has not performed at the level set by the original franchise. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted debuted in October 2012 with £6.03m, including £2.39m in previews. Universal/Illumination will be paying close attention, since they have their own animated spinoff – Minions – due next summer. They will argue that Minions is a more powerful brand: they haven’t even included the parent franchise Despicable Me in their film’s title.
Falling 54% on its third weekend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is declining slightly faster than its 2013 predecessor Catching Fire. After 18 days, it stands at £25.25m, about 4% below Catching Fire at the same stage. Just as its predecessor did, Mockingjay will face tough competition from The Hobbit on its fourth weekend. At its current pace, it looks unlikely to match the year’s top performers The Lego Movie (£34.3m) and The Inbetweeners 2 (£33.4m). Next in the 2014 list comes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (£32.7m).Read More…