Box Office: ‘The Hunger Games’ finale underwhelms in first place

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Final ‘Hunger Games’ film earns series-worst $101M in U.S. opening weekend.

LOS ANGELES — “Mockingjay — Part 2,” the final “Hunger Games” film, soared to a $101 million opening in its first weekend in theaters, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.The series starring Jennifer Lawrence kicked off with a bang in March 2012 with a massive $152.5 million weekend — one of the highest openings of all time. ‘‘Catching Fire,’’ next in the franchise, one-upped that with a $158.1 million debut in November 2013. ‘‘Mockingjay — Part 1’’ opened on this weekend last year to $121.9 million, considered at the time an expected dip, while fans awaited the final installment, which, if it mimicked ‘‘Twilight’’ or ‘‘Harry Potter,’’ would have snared the second highest (if not highest) opening in the series. ‘‘It’s a great accomplishment. It came in eighth at the box office, just behind “The Martian.” With this weekend down 11 percent from last year, it remains to be seen whether 2015 will indeed be a record-breaking $11 billion year as many predicted at the outset. It helped launch Jennifer Lawrence into superstardom, as the film was the most financially successful for a movie featuring a female lead. “Remember that line from the first ‘Hunger Games’ film: ‘May the odds be ever in your favor’?

Though reviews for this entry were stronger, fan reaction to “Mockingjay Part 1” was mixed, perhaps explaining the reduction in enthusiasm for this latest film. Lionsgate split the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy into two films, following the precedent of “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” whose box office peaked with the final installments. Other new openers include the Seth Rogen comedy “The Night Before,” which took fourth place with $10.1 million, and “The Secret in Their Eyes.” The Julia Roberts thriller earned only $6.6 million.

The overall franchise has grossed over $2 billion worldwide and counting,” said David Spitz, co-president of theatrical distribution for Lionsgate. “It’s a pretty phenomenal result.” Dergarabedian attributes the showing to a down marketplace. Just two weekends ago, “Spectre,” which fell to second place this week with $14.6 million, failed to live up to the domestic opening of “Skyfall,” the previous James Bond film.

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