‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ is a Smash Hit, So Why the Disappointment?

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

How much money did the new Hunger Games make?.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” scored a healthy $101 million over the weekend, but that number was the lowest of any opening in the ‘Hunger Games’ series, plus it was about $20 million under the projected total of $120 million.

But this is about “The Hunger Games,” the epic heart-wrenching action series that made Jennifer Lawrence a household name, made us wish our dresses could light on fire, and in the spirit of all spot-on book-to-film adaptions, made reading cool again (at least for a little while). 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.

The bad news is, even with a 70% positive rating from critics at aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com and an A- grade from CinemaScore audiences, the series closer had the weakest debut of the bunch. Notably, seven of the 34 films that have opened over $100 million have been from Lionsgate (four ‘Hunger Games’ and three ‘Twilight’ films).” The first two Hunger Games movies in 2012 and 2013 snagged $150 million-plus openings, and last year’s Mockingjay — Part 1 opened with $122 million. This obvious ploy by the money-making gurus to capitalize on our attachment usually works. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2″ eclipsed “Part 1,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ beat its “Part 1″ by more than $44 million, making it the biggest opening in history at the time. (It has since dropped to fifth place.) But here’s where this series differed from the worlds of vampires and wizards: It doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, or an ending of immense action.

At art houses, “Brooklyn” (Fox Searchlight) continued to perform well and the new release “Carol” (the Weinstein Company), starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, posted strong results in extremely limited release. In its third week, Sony Pictures’ SNE, +0.11% “Spectre” dropped to No. 2 at the box office, earning $14.6 million, which puts its domestic total at $153.7 million.

The second Mockingjay might not have reached expectations for a franchise that has rung up more than $2 billion worldwide, but it’s nothing to sniff at, says Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. In “Harry Potter,” the final movie is an all-out battle between the good and evil wizards, complete with edge-of-your-seat action and a few laugh-out-loud quips amid the chaos.

For this movie, it’s more of a marathon run.” The James Bond film Spectre and family-friendly The Peanuts Movie, which have anchored the top two spots the last two weeks, were No. 2 and No. 3 with $14.6 million and $12.8 million respectively. Sony’s R-rated holiday comedy “The Night Before,” starring Seth Rogen; Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie, finished the weekend with $10.1 million, enough for the No. 4 spot in its box office debut. Julia Roberts’ mystery thriller “Secret in Their Eyes” rounds out the top five films from the weekend, earning $6.6 million for STX Entertainment in its first weekend.

Like Our Brand Is Crisis and Burnt, both of which recently failed to launch, Secret In Their Eyes falls into the trap of being a passion project, Dergarabedian says. “Studios are trying to create adult dramas for a sophisticated audience, but there are too many of them right now.” The smaller Oscar-bait releases seem to be doing better. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend next week will welcome the latest installment in the “Rocky” franchise, with Time Warner Inc.-owned TWX, -0.37% Warner Bros.’ release of “Creed,” starring Michael B. The journalism drama expanded from three to 20 markets and made $3.6 million — good enough for eighth place overall. “We are in the thick of awards season, and if you’re a moviegoer over 30, over 40, over 50, you have so many choices,” says Dergarabedian, as acclaimed movies such as Suffragette, Room and Trumbo expand nationwide. Add to that the Rocky spinoff Creed, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and Victor Frankenstein opening Wednesday — and The Danish Girl following in select theaters Friday — and “it’s one of the most crowded marketplaces I’ve ever seen,” Dergarabedian says. “Hopefully, over the five-day weekend people will catch up on their movies.”

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