Weekend Wrap-Up

Mockingjay 2 Closes The Hunger Games With Its Lowest Open

By John Hamann

November 22, 2015

War isn't usually this pretty.

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As the checkered flag flies for The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 2 opens to $100 million plus. So why the sad face? Is an eventual $3 billion from four Hunger Games films not enough?

Welcome to the pre-Thanksgiving weekend at the box office, the frame where Hollywood drops a huge film to take advantage of this weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, and all of the big, big frames heading toward the Christmas Box Office Lottery. For the last eight consecutive years, three franchises have dominated year in and year out. We have either had a Hunger Games film (three), a Twilight release (four), or a Harry Potter film (one) over those eight years. Those eight films have opened to a combined $1 billion, for an average opening weekend of $125 million.

It would appear that that the run is over; however, Warner Bros. will try again next year with the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which opens November 18, 2016. In 2017, DC Comics will try and take over, with The Justice League Part One. Suffice to say that the pre-Thanksgiving weekend has been the launching pad for some big, big films for almost a decade, and we have another one this weekend.


This weekend closes out The Hunger Games franchise, at least for now, as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 debuted this weekend, but this time, with two other wide releases accompanying it. Competition has stayed away from The Hunger Games since Vince Vaughn’s Delivery Man tried to play as counter-programming versus 2013’s Catching Fire, but it was gunned down, opening to only $7.9 million. Eventually, Delivery Man tapped out with a loss and had already been mothballed by Christmas.

This weekend, Sony is pushing out The Night Before, the new Seth Rogen Christmas comedy, coming out on the heels of Love the Coopers, the holiday season’s first disaster. Additionally, upstart STX Entertainment goes for revenge drama with The Secret in Their Eyes, with Julia Roberts. The weekend had all the possibilities of being huge, as the weekend hoped to stay on pace with the huge weekends of the last eight years, where three of those years had summer-style top 12 grosses combining for over $200 million.

I don’t think anyone will be shocked that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is our number one film of the weekend, but there are surprises to come. The Jennifer Lawrence starrer got started with Thursday previews, of course, earning a powerful $16 million. While that number sounds great, it was a million off of the last film, Mockingjay Part 1, and almost $10 million lower than Catching Fire, which was the biggest earner of The Hunger Games franchise. Is $16 million a bad number for a Thursday preview? Of course not, but it does tell us that either the franchise is tiring, or the young girl fanbase has grown up (and moved on) since the first film debuted in 2012. I believe these numbers are slightly lower due to what some call the mistake made by Lionsgate, splitting up the last film in the series into two parts, which was not a bad decision financially.

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