'Mockingjay' Scores Big In Opening Weekend But Falls Short In The Big Picture

Mockingjay, Part 1, the third installment derived from the Hunger Games series, hit the silver screen this past weekend and surged ahead of the competition by raking in $123 million, making it the top grossing opening weekend of the year. The Hunger Games franchise is familiar with opening weekend success, and seeing as Mockingjay, Part 1 post-opening weekend standings are impressive, what's most interesting is that the numbers actually fell well short of the movie's predecessors.

Catching Fire, which was released to theaters a little over a year ago, rose to No. 1 in its first weekend with a staggering $161 million and the original soared to top rung standings with $152 million adding a top grossing day of $67 million. The series most certainly has the stamina that echoes the resulting success of those such as Twilight and Lord Of The Rings, however, something must be said for this sizable dip in box office opening weekend earnings for Mockingjay.

Theories as to this very fact are being mulled over and in large part, the results are being blamed on Lionsgate's choice to break what could have been one movie into two unnecessary parts. Variety is quick to indicate this, stating, "It's possible that some moviegoers stayed away because [Mockingjay, Part 1] was split into two parts."

Moviegoers may be disappointed in this decision by Lionsgate yet Lionsgate definitely will reap the benefits of the decision to make what could have been one incredible and entertainment packed picture into two parts. Jeff Bock, chief analyst with Exhibitor Relations relays this fact to Analyst stating, "When you look at the grand scheme of things, they'll still make gobs more money than if they only released one film." Therein, one could say, lies the reason for the fractured picture and the lesser earnings. in the short run, for Mockingjay

What do Hunger Games fans and recent viewers of the latest installment think of the overall entertainment value of the first part of Mockingjay? The response is entirely mixed. Devon Maloney of Wired comments on the increased level of violence this particular installment met fans with.

"The third installment of the Hunger Games film franchise—in which protagonist Katniss Everdeen struggles with PTSD while simultaneously becoming the official face of a rebellion—is by far the most evocative of real-world inhumanity. It's a truly upsetting beginning to a two-movie reckoning."
Maloney, however does go on to point out that although Mockingjay, Part 1 is terribly violent and upsetting, especially considering it is meant for teens, he sees value in it as it draws comparisons to real-world situations which makes young people aware of happenings in their own time.

Todd Van Der Werff of Vox has a strong opinion about the film and the decision to split his favorite installment of the Hunger Games trilogy into two parts,

"I will admit its first half largely sits around, waiting for the grim, gloomy fireworks that mark the book's second half to begin. But what's most interesting about Mockingjay, Part 1 and what saves it from being a completely leaden bore is the fact that it seems, at all times, sort of angry that it even exists. Yes,Mockingjay, Part 1, is a movie that seems actively aware it has no good reason to be here."
Van Der Werff continues to note various reasons that Mockinjay-Part 1 is somewhat mocking its own existence yet concludes that it continues to follow the rules of being what it without a doubt remains, a blockbuster.

Fractured or not, the third installment of the Hunger Games series finds its place by being a visual telling of Suzanne Collin's masterpiece and stays true to the themes of the novel while portraying Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, as a strong female in a world of disrepair.

[Image via mashable.com]