Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

November 27, 2013

We play two halves in this league, defense!

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Kim Hollis: Twilight reached a point where it topped out, with films after the second movie in the series staying right in the same range as that one. Do you think the Hunger Games franchise will similarly level off, or is there still more room to grow?

Matthew Huntley: As far as overall domestic gross is concerned, I don't think there's much room for The Hunger Games to grow - the original's $408 million box office take may turn out to be the franchise best, at least on the domestic front. However, I do think the last two films can see growth in opening weekend numbers by $10-$12 million, but it would all depend on when they get released. I'd say if they come out in the summer, we could see an opening as high as $180 million. But, as is par for the course, a greater opening usually means a faster fall.

Internationally, I think it's a different story, where, yes, I do think the franchise will just keep getting bigger, perhaps by $200 million. This would follow the recent trends illustrated by so many Hollywood franchises and further iterate how much the studios will continue to rely on foreign markets.




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Bruce Hall: When I look at the domestic finals for the Twilight, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings (next best example I could think of), I see slightly different behavior from each franchise. Where Twilight topped out with the second film, Harry Potter dipped 17% after the first one, and then averaged about $279 million until peaking with the finale at $301 million. And then there's LOTR, which peaked on the third film. Each franchise has its own "personality". There are seven films and a variety of directors and different narrative tone in the Potter series. There are multiple directors in the Twilight series, and I’d argue the audience appeal is a little narrower than Harry Potter. LOTR would seem to have the most limited appeal of all these franchises, and yet it has the highest domestic average per film out of them all.

And I think that’s what I think the key is here, if we’re talking about performance over time and not all cumulative totals. LOTR was the most narrative and tonally consistent of all these successful franchises. Each one tells a story that we know people are going to stick with to the end, but I think how the box office averages out will tell the story of how consistently pleased audiences were with the quality of these films.

The Hunger Games topped out at $408 million, which is higher than any of the 17 films I’ve talked about so far. Catching Fire will top that. I believe we're already looking at the new king.

Edwin Davies: I think that the series started from such an astronomical high that it would have been tough for it to really increase much more - at least domestically - without some other factor like the addition of 3D or the finale bump we saw with the last Harry Potter film. We might have to wait until Mockingjay Part 2 for that sort of huge increase, assuming that the consensus opinion that the last book is the worst one doesn't hurt its prospects at the box office. Then again, we're only talking about the opening weekend so far, and I think the different release pattern between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire will have a marked effect on their overall performance; Catching Fire is perfectly poised to take advantage of the holidays, and so will not only have opened to slightly more than its predecessor, it will hold better as well, and almost certainly end the year as the number one film of 2013. That's where we'll see if the audience for the series has grown significantly since March of last year.

The big room for growth, as Matthew pointed out, is overseas. The first film was a rare example of a huge blockbuster that was more popular in America ($408 million) than in the rest of the world ($283.2 million), so there was a lot more room for improvement there. After a week, Catching Fire has already earned $146.6 million internationally, which suggests that growth has occurred, and that Catching Fire will be a much, much bigger global hit than The Hunger Games.


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