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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) - "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1", starring Jennifer Lawrence as the young archer who rallies the downtrodden citizens of a dystopian society, collected $21.6 million to lead the box office charts for a third consecutive weekend.
DreamWorks Animation's "Penguins of Madagascar" was second with $11.1 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters during a slow post-Thanksgiving weekend, when moviegoers traditionally turn their attention toward shopping.
"This weekend will wind up down versus the same weekend a year ago, when 'Frozen' topped the chart with $31.6 million," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at tracking firm Rentrak.
"Horrible Bosses 2", starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as entrepreneurs who help to stage a kidnapping to get ahead, was third with $8.6 million in sales for the three days from Friday through Sunday, according to Rentrak estimates.
"Mockingjay" has collected $257.7 million since its Nov. 21 release, according to Rentrak. Based on author Suzanne Collins's best-selling book, the movie has a global total of more than $560 million. The film's performance put it on track to become the year's second-highest grossing film, behind only "Guardians of the Galaxy," early this week, Rentrak said.
But "Mockingjay" will likely finish below last year's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", according to Box Office Mojo, which said November's overall box office total was down 4 percent from 2013's. For the year it forecast a 3 percent drop from the $10.6 billion recorded last year.
Rounding out this week's top five, Disney's "Big Hero 6" was fourth with $8.1 million. It has totaled $177.5 million since its Nov. 7 release. Director Christopher Nolan's space adventure "Interstellar" was fifth with $8 million. The film starring Matthew McConaughey has total domestic sales of $158.7 million.
The box office is expected to pick up significantly next week with two widely anticipated releases, comedian Chris Rock's "Top Five" which he also directed and wrote, and Ridley Scott's epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings".
Lionsgate distributed "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1". "The Penguins of Madagascar" was released by Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox. Disney released "Big Hero 6". "Interstellar" was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom. Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner, distributed "Horrible Bosses 2".
For a list of the top films at the North American box office, please click on (Reporting by Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)