Why Mockingjay Falls Short

Why ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’ Fell Short This Weekend

Following the first couple days of box office reporting, it looks like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is set to make $123 million this weekend, setting itself up to be the most successful opening weekend of the year, Box Office Mojo reports. Sadly, despite these high numbers, Mockingjay still falls short of success of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which came out this time last year.

Is this drop an indicator that audiences are growing weary of Katniss Everdeen and her never-ending battle with The Capitol? Not necessarily. First let us take a look at the previous installments of the franchise.

The original Hunger Games film set the world on fire (no pun intended) upon its release, bringing in over $150 million domestically on its opening weekend. The second film in the franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire proved even more successful with just under $160 million. Both films earned well over half a million worldwide (Catching Fire earned closer to a billion).

Peeta Mellarch and Caesar Flickerman in
Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’

While still an integral part of the franchise, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 had two things going against it. The first is IMAX: This is the first Hunger Games film to not release in IMAX. With most of the screens being reserved for Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar, there may have been no room to accommodate the YA franchise. That being said, it is surprising that director Francis Lawrence opted not to shoot any scenes with IMAX camera, as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had all arena scenes shot using the enlarged film size. Did the head honchos at Lionsgate know Interestellar was on its way and decide the extra money spent wouldn’t be worth it? That is possible.

The second thing Mockingjay had going against it was the “Part 1” in its title. A few years back, when Harry Potter was the first to pioneer this method of splitting up the final book, viewers were curious to see what a book film would be like if it was split in half. In 2014, this is a well-worn trail for fans. Having experienced the Twilight flicks and Hobbit films, “Part 1” movies have a bad habit of seeming like nothing more than a trailer for the next installment — which, quite fittingly, is also a common criticism for Mockingjay, Part 1. In all likelihood, there is a good portion of fans who opted to wait for the flick’s Blu-ray release so they can marathon directly before the final installment’s release next year.

Regardless of the drop in box office gross, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is still guaranteed to be a financial success, and another feather in Lionsgate’s proverbial cap.

Did you check out The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 this weekend, or are you waiting for next year’s release of Part 2 to thrown down your hard-earned cash? Let us know below.

[Image Credit: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 Trailer]

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