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

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

“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.Although it is a series-low, “Mockingjay — Part 2” had the fifth biggest opening weekend of the year and is the fifth to come in with more than $100 million in its first three days. 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). 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’?

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 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. 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. The controversial character — a long-haired, androgynous model named “All” played by Benedict Cumberbatch — was introduced in a new trailer last week. 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. 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. A bevy people are offended by the character’s outlandish representation of the transgender community, with many of them signing an online petition to boycott the movie. “Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals,” wrote the petition’s creator, Sarah Rose.

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. The online plea also questioned the movie’s decision to cast Cumberbatch instead of an actor that is actually non-binary, meaning they don’t necessarily identify as male or female. “By hiring a (non-trans) actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, they film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large,” Rose wrote. “Really wanted to like the Zoolander 2 trailer but the seemingly transphobic Benedict Cumberbatch character left a bad taste,” tweeted a user named Joel Jessup. 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. Opening early seemed like a really good prelude to the Thanksgiving weekend where it will expand beautifully,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution. “It’s a good start for us.” The Julia Roberts thriller “The Secret in Their Eyes,” a remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian film, also debuted wide this weekend to $6.6 million from 2,392 locations — slightly under expectations.

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. 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.

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