Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
November 25, 2014
Kim Hollis: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 had the biggest opening of 2014 to date with $121.9 million. Its opening weekend total is less than the $152.5 million of The Hunger Games and the $158.1 million of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. What do you think of this result?
Jason Barney: At the very least everyone involved should be VERY satisfied with these numbers. Pointing out this is the lowest of the Hunger Games openings is relevant, but I don't put much stock in anything beyond the initial numbers. Regardless if both parts of Mockingjay cost $250 million or a little bit more, the investment is going to be a sound one, very quickly. Mockingjay 1 has had the largest opening of the year by bringing nearly 20% more people than Transformers. Any criticism is relative to the some of the largest openers of all time, so the franchise is still hot, it's doing fine, and nobody has to be concerned.
And the numbers suggest that the film is going make massive amounts of money. When I read BOP's weekend Wrap-Up, it really puts things into perspective. If Mockingjay 1 is the first film in the franchise to not make $400 million domestically... oh, well. It is going to approach those lofty numbers anyway, and whatever deficit it might have compared to the other Hunger Games films, it is easily going to make that up in international numbers.
Really, Lionsgate has absolutely nothing to worry about. Even if we lowball the numbers for the next seven days, it will be over $225 million after less than two weeks of release. Then it will have three weeks of holiday cheer as we approach Christmas. It opened just fine and is a big win for all involved.
Edwin Davies: This is obviously a very good result, and one that is far from disastrous considering the upcoming holiday season will probably ensure that the film will make up a lot of the ground lost from this lower opening. Even if the film ends up making considerably less than its predecessors, it will still cover most of the cost of production for both Parts 1 and 2, so when the final film comes out next year Lionsgate will really reap the rewards of their split film strategy.
However, I feel that this result might have broader implications since this is the first - and certainly the most high profile - example of a film series suffering from breaking one film up in to two parts. There are other factors in play to explain why Mockingjay didn't open to the same number as the first two films - absence of IMAX screens, the poor reputation of the book - but the fact that people are going in knowing that they're only getting half a story is probably the most likely explanation for why the drop was so steep considering how well-received the series has been. Harry Potter and Twilight got away with it because no one had done it before and the fan bases were so rabid, but just like with 3D, there is a tipping point at which people won't be willing to pay more for a worse experience. That pushback won't hurt The Hunger Games because the series is so huge that it can take the hit, but it's got to be giving pause to, oh I don't know, the producers of the Divergent series.
Bruce Hall: It's a numbers based business, so when the third movie in a tentpole franchise opens this shy of its predecessor, people will talk. And if we were talking about the difference between $100 and $75 million, I might be more interested. But we're talking about the difference between $122 and $158 million, and also the biggest opening weekend of the year by far.
So if the question is "What kind of a weekend was this?", the answer is "kick ass!"
But if the question is "Are these movies getting less and less interesting?" or "Were people expecting too much from part three of a four part story?", then the conversation gets more interesting.