Krampus, Universal

APEX Insight: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 continued its rebel run at number one with an estimated $18.6 million, despite stiff competition from a creepy Krampus, a new Spike Lee joint, and a Mother Teresa biopic.

It didn’t scare a certain fiery bird out of the top spot at the box office, but, despite a much buzzed about last-minute review embargo (which is rarely a good sign with horror films), the Christmas horror-comedy Krampus cleaned up at the box office over the weekend with a $16 million Christmas cheer-worthy haul. Based on the old Alpine folktale of the Krampus, a mythical, horned creature who tags along with St. Nick on Christmas Eve to serve as kind of an avenging anti-Santa to naughty kids, Krampus was directed by cult Trick ‘r Treat helmer Michael Dougherty. Starring Oscar-nominee Toni Colette, Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott and Fargo’s Alison Tollman, this spooky anything-but-silent night scarefest is already generating the kind of social media groudswell that money can’t buy. I have a feeling this will be a very Merry Christmas for all involved, including that crazy, soul-sucking Krampus.

Opening just outside the top 10 with $1.2 million was Spike Lee’s controversial musical dramedy Chi-Raq. Loosely based on the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, the hard-charging Chi-Raq details what happens when a group of young women on Chicago’s south side withhold sex from their men until they agree to curb the senseless gang violence that is ruining their neighborhood. Featuring a star-studded cast of former Oscar-nominees like Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, John Cusack, Wesley Snipes and Nick Cannon, Chi-Raq is shaping up to be another cinematic slamdunk for Lee, who was recently awarded an honorary Academy Award for his “contributions to cinema.” Chi-Raq is also the first feature film from Amazon Studios, which means that Prime subscribers could be “getting lucky” with this title on the small screen soon too – even if the male characters in the film aren’t.

The Letters, Freestyle Releasing

The Letters, Freestyle Releasing

Also opening this past weekend in limited release with $802 thousand is The Letters. Based on over 40 years worth of correspondences between Mother Teresa and close friend and spiritual advisor, Father Celeste van Exem, Letters examines the Nobel Peace Prize-winner’s crisis of faith in her later years and features a killer star turn by celebrated UK actress Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply, Bend it Like Beckham). Also starring Blade Runner’s Rutger Hauer and Oscar-nominated indie-film icon Max von Sydow as Exem, Letters was written and directed by former promotional film helmer William Riead who more than likely had his own crisis of faith after spending 14-plus years trying to bring Letters to the screen. Talk about the patience of a saint!

Weekend Box Office Estimates: December 4–6, 2015

Title/Studio Weekend/Total Gross
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2/Lionsgate $18.6M/$227.1M
2. Krampus/Universal $16M
3. Creed/Warner Bros. $15.5M/$65.1M
4. The Good Dinosaur/Disney $15.5M/$75.9M
5. Spectre/Sony $5.4M/$184.5M
6. The Night Before/Sony $4.9M/$31.9M
7. The Peanuts Movie/Fox $3.5M/$121.4M
8. Spotlight/Open Road Films $2.9M/$16.6M
9. Brooklyn/Fox Searchlight $2.4M/$11.2M
10. The Secret in their Eyes/STX $1.9M/$17.2M