‘Mockingjay — Part 2,’ Last ‘Hunger Games,’ Opens to Franchise Low of $101 …

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Mockingjay — Part 2′ logs $101-million opening, lowest in ‘Hunger Games’ franchise.

“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 fourth and final movie in the Hunger Games franchise — the saga that turned Jennifer Lawrence into a Hollywood mega-star — ruled the North American box offices over the weekend, early results showed Sunday. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2″ raked in $101 million in ticket sales in its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, according to ticket-sales tracker Exhibitor Relations. “Mockingjay, Part 2,” however, failed to best the take of its predecessor, “Mockingjay, Part 1,” which opened at $121.9 million, according to competing tracker Rentrak. 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). 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,” the second film 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 to be a necessary and 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. The books and the movies tell the story of Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), a teenage heroine pitched into a deadly battle for survival in the macabre post-apocalyptic nation of Panem.

Instead, “Mockingjay — Part 2″ had the lowest debut of the series, down $20 million from the most recent sequel and $57 million from “Catching Fire.” Like its contemporaries “Harry Potter” and “Twilight,” the last book was split into two films. The star-studded spy thriller — with Daniel Craig as 007, and including Italian beauty Monica Bellucci and Austrian Oscar winner Christoph Waltz as the villain — has raked in $153.7 million in its three weeks in cinemas. 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. The family-friendly film was the first big-screen rendering in 35 years for the comic-book characters created by the late Charles Schulz, who died in 2000.

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. 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. Two debuts also made the top five list: “The Night Before,” a buddy comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, with $10.1 million; and “Secret In Their Eyes,” a murder mystery starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman, at $6.6 million. Even though some of those markets were affected by the fallout of terrorist attacks in Paris, Spitz said the film is performing on par compared to the previous films. “We’re having a great weekend,” Spitz said. “It’s nice to be able say we are one of only 34 films to have ever had an opening weekend over $100 million.” About 70% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a positive rating.

The Seth Rogen holiday comedy “The Night Before” opened in fourth place, behind “The Peanuts Movie,” with $10.1 million, which was within Sony’s expectations. By staying dutiful to the book, as author Suzanne Collins promised, the movie wasn’t full of the dramatic teen vs. teen battles that comprised the first two films. The movie, which cost an estimated $160 million to make, still is the fifth-highest opening film of the year so far, behind Universal’s “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million), Disney’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” ($191.3 million), Universal’s “Furious 7″ ($147.2 million) and Universal’s “Minions” ($115.7 million).

With the weekend box office down 11 percent from last year, it remains to be seen whether 2015 will indeed become a record-breaking $11 billion year as many predicted at the outset. Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

The Weinstein Co.’s “Carol,” the period love story starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in acclaimed lead performances, debuted strongly on only four screens in New York and Los Angeles for a per-screen average topping $62,000 – the highest of the week. “We’re really pleased with it,” said Erik Lomis, the studio’s theatrical distribution president. “The reviews have been pretty spectacular and people really like the film.” “Carol” will expand in limited release through December, Lomis said. Still performing well is “Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s drama about the Boston Globe’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of priest sexual abuse. It was the only holdover in the top 10 to post a week-to-week increase — of 166% — partly due to its addition of more than 500 screens and building buzz about its award-season prospects.

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