Last ‘Hunger Games’ blitzes box office with $101M

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hunger Games: MokingjayLOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mockingjay — Part 2,” the final “Hunger Games” film, has soared to a $101 million opening in its first weekend in theaters. Liam Hemsworth, left, as Gale Hawthorne, Sam Clafin, back left, as Finnick Odair, Evan Ross, back right, as Messalia, and Jennifer Lawrence, right, as Katniss Everdeen, in the film, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.” (The Associated Press) “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” dominated the weekend box office with the final film in the science-fiction franchise debuting to $101 million.

Friday brought an opening box office haul of $46 million (Dh168.9 million) for the fourth and final instalment in the popular dystopian movie series starring Jennifer Lawrence as the heroine Katniss, according to movie tracking site boxofficemojo.com. That ranks as the year’s fifth biggest opening, but it wasn’t as big a sendoff for Katniss Everdeen and her fellow revolutionaries as some had predicted.

And I’d loved to be involved, absolutely.’ ‘I think that Suzanne created such an iconic character, and I think she’s the main reason why everyone comes back to these stories. MJ2 picks up exactly where its predecessor left off, with Katniss Everdeen (girl on fire Jennifer Lawrence) nursing injuries inflicted upon her by the recently retrieved but still brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Those numbers dwarfed every other competitor this week, but “Mockingjay’s” gross still fell short of expectations and landed far away from the $55.1 million opening day last year for “Mockingjay — Part 1.” If projections hold, the movie will end up with the most modest performance of the “Hunger Games” series.

As rebel forces ready themselves for the last battle with President Snow (the silver-tongued Donald Sutherland), Julianne Moore’s Alma Coin starts to look less like a liberator than an ice queen in waiting, leaving Katniss wondering what – and for whom – she is fighting. 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. Despite an attempt to bring the spirit of the games on to the battlefield (marauding House of the Dead-style “mutts” and contrived booby-trapped battlefields), the brilliantly brutal gladiatorial narrative that first drove the Hunger Games series now seems a distant memory.

Splitting this third instalment into two movies was always going to cause pacing problems, yet MJ1 somehow managed to make a didactic virtue of its discursive nature. Here, the balance between action and exposition feels more forced, exacerbating rather than solving the dramatic problems of Suzanne Collins’s source novel. (At least the final screen instalment of Twilight achieved a level of bonkers preposterousness to ease us through its chaotic conclusion.) On the plus side, there are some complex ideas about power and corruption at play, and it’s good to see this final instalment refusing to sell out either its role model heroine or its darkly dystopian sociopolitical themes. Meanwhile, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman look to have teamed up for a bomb in “Secret in Their Eyes,” a remake of an Argentine thriller from STX Entertainment. Whatever its faults, this remains light years ahead of the Insurgent/Maze Runner film franchises, which have so far failed to steal The Hunger Games’s thunder. It cost $19.5 million to produce, and is the latest in a string of adult driven films such as “By the Sea” and “Steve Jobs,” to struggle at the box office this fall.

STX, which bought domestic rights with Route One for $6.5 million, expressed confidence that the film would find its audience over the Thanksgiving period. “We feel this is too early in the process to give us a full grade,” said Kevin Grayson, distribution chief at STX. “This is going to factor into the Thanksgiving play period, and the twists and surprise ending are going to keep water cooler conversation going.” The weakness of the new films allowed holdovers “Spectre” and “The Peanuts Movie” to pad their box office results.

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