‘Mockingjay – Part 2′ logs $101 million opening, lowest in ‘Hunger Games …

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2′ debuts to nearly $250 million globally.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” may have fallen short of expectations in the U.S. and Canada, but the series finale starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is performing well overseas. LOS ANGELES (AP) — “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 Francis Lawrence-directed picture logged international opening weekend ticket sales of $146 million from 87 markets, according to Santa Monica-based studio Lionsgate.

For most films, the figure would be a coup, but the latest chapter of “The Hunger Games” collected the lowest opening take among the four films in the series. When the big-screen depiction of Suzanne Collins’ Panem debuted in March 2012, it brought in $152.5 million, the biggest opening ever for a movie with a female lead. 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. 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.

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 movie also did well in France, where parts of it was filmed, as well as Australia, Brazil and Russia. “Mockingjay: Part 1” opened last year to $152 million overseas, meaning the drop from “Part 1” to “Part 2” was only about 4%. While Mockingjay didn’t manage to soar as high as the earlier installments, the $160 million film still notched the fifth-biggest debut of the year, making it one of only five films to debut above $100 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.” “When a franchise is this popular and this successful in this short a time, expectations run very high,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for Rentrak. “If we live in a world where a $100 million opening is a disappointment, that’s pretty crazy.” To date, there have been only 34 movies in history to open at over $100 million, and each film in “The Hunger Games” series has hit that massive benchmark. David Spitz, Lionsgate’s executive vice president and general sales manager of theatrical domestic distribution, cautioned against focusing solely on the domestic gross for “Mockingjay – Part 2.” He noted the aggressive, simultaneous rollout of the finale in 86 countries. Its sequel, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” opened in 2013 at $6.3 million internationally because of staggered release dates in different countries.

Globally, it reeled in $247 million, and even though Mockingjay couldn’t catch Catching Fire’s box office records, it bumped up the franchise’s worldwide total to a staggering $2.55 billion. 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. As far as films not set in Panem go, holdovers and newcomers alike fell to Katniss’ arrow, as no other movie in theaters managed to crack $15 million. Sony’s new buddy Christmas comedy “The Night Before” with Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie was no match for Katniss — or James Bond or Charlie Brown. 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.

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. 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.

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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