The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Friday Box Office Analysis
By Tim Briody
November 22, 2014
The first part of the Hunger Games finale is here. It was looking to follow in the footsteps of the two previous films in the series, both of which crossed $400 million, an unprecedented feat for any franchise. The box office pedigree built up in just two movies is ridiculous. Catching Fire was the highest grossing film of 2013, the franchise holds box office records for openings in March and November, and worldwide has already taken in $1.5 billion in box office. So, let’s say there are just some small expectations here as the adaptation of the third book hits theaters.
What we have on Friday for Mockingjay Part 1 is $55 million, with $17 million from Thursday night showings. Despite being the highest single day of box office in 2014, there might be a nagging feeling that this seems low to you. That’s because it’s also the weakest performance of any of the Hunger Games films yet. The Hunger Games started with $67.2 million and on this weekend last year Catching Fire took in $70.5 million. The surprising drop that Mockingjay has shown is potentially due to fact that the third book was not received nearly as well as The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were, or perhaps audiences are starting to grow tired of the obvious cash grab that is the final entry in a franchise being split into two movies.
With the consensus also being that Mockingjay Part 1 seemingly only exists to set up Part 2, that might have turned off some people who will just wait for Netflix to catch up on the first movie before seeing the second part a year from now. After Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was wildly successful, there's always been the risk that this might happen when splitting a book into two movies. Still, this is the first time it's been tangible in terms of box office. It didn't affect Twilight and the Breaking Dawn movies any, but the tipping point seems to have been reached. I'm just saying that the makers of Divergent might want to rethink their plans now.
What awaits it over the rest of the weekend should mirror Catching Fire, which was this very weekend last year. Starting with $70.5 million after $25.2 million from Thursday night showings, it finished with $158 million. Mockingjay should follow that pattern, giving it a weekend of $122.1 million. That’s the highest opening weekend of the year, by the way. It’s really bizarre when you have to call an opening of this magnitude disappointing, but that’s what seems to have happened here.