The new Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opened strong this weekend, but not as strong as the other movies in the franchise. Did the relatively lackluster performance show interest in the series has peaked? It might be a well-timed farewell for Katniss Everdeen.
According to the New York Times, Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 pulled in about $101 million at the box office, easily taking first for the weekend. Still, it was an example of a big box office open that simply wasn’t big enough to meet expectations.
The film’s weekend open was about 17 percent less than that for Mockingjay – Part 1, which took in about $121.9 million according to MSN. Some analysts said that franchise fatigue was a significant factor, others wondered if the attacks on Paris had some effect.
With the Hunger Games missing its mark, overall box office sales were down about 10 percent for the weekend.
The studio is still far from disappointed and said sales internationally were strong.
Fans who did go out to see Part 2 gave the film an A- on CinemaScore. Overall, the initial reviews appeared to be more positive than those for Part 1.
The Hunger Games movie franchise started in 2012. Since then it’s made Lionsgate films about $1.1 billion in the U.S. alone and helped catapult Jennifer Lawrence to super stardom.
Paul Dergarabedian, media analyst at Rentrak, added that it showed how well something relatively new can take off.
“The Hunger Games’ series has stood as proof that, if properly handled, new massive brands can be created and can draw audiences around the world.”
The analyst is also quick to point out a weekend opening over $100 million should be considered a massive success.
“When a franchise is this popular and this successful in this short a time, expectations run very high. If we live in a world where a $100 million opening is a disappointment, that’s pretty crazy.”
Mockingjay – Part 2 made up for the domestic performance a bit with big openings in international markets, pulling in about $147 million and covering nearly every big market, including China.
Lionsgate Studios spent roughly $160 million in the making of the major blockbuster.
In second place over the weekend was Spectre, the latest James Bond thriller, which brought in $14.7 million and is in its third week in theaters. In third was The Peanuts Movie, which brought in about $12.8 million.
As for other film premieres, the Hunger Games took up most of the spotlight, but Seth Rogen’s comedy The Night Before fared best against the franchise juggernaut. The R-rated Christmas comedy took in about $10.1 million.
The comedy will likely have about a month of decent showings, since the next adult comedy movie doesn’t come out until December 16 — Sisters, starring Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.
The Secret In Their Eyes, a thriller starring Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, struggled out of the gate, taking in about $6.6 million. The movie is a remake of an acclaimed Argentinian film by the same name.
As for the latest, and last, Hunger Games movie, David Spitz, Lionsgate’s co-president of theatrical distribution, heaped praise onto the franchise as it airs its final chapter, according to the Huffington Post.
“It’s a great accomplishment. The overall franchise has grossed over $2 billion worldwide and counting… It’s a pretty phenomenal result.”
Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 has many more chances to impress audiences, especially over the upcoming Thanksgiving Day weekend and holiday season.
[Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]