Weekend Box Office Report: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ Makes All of the Money and It’s Still Not Enough

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Lionsgate

There’s going to be a lot of blood and ink spilled across the Internet on the subject of the opening weekend for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.’ Yes, the third film in the series did open significantly lower than its predecessors. Yes, there are definitely people at Lionsgate wringing their hands and trying to figure out why the film opened below expectations. And yet, that opening weekend is still massive. It’s three day total is larger than most movies ever have a chance to make in their entire runs. So, let’s have some perspective as we dive into this week’s top 10.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 $123,000,000 $29,631 $123,000,000
2 Big Hero 6 $20,086,000 (-42) $5,503 $135,708,000
3 Interstellar $15,100,000 (-47) $4,422 $120,692,000
4 Dumb and Dumber To $13,819,000 (-62) $4,355 $57,472,000
5 Gone Girl $2,815,000 (-38)
$1,750 $156,823,000
6 Beyond the Lights $2,630,000 (-58) $1,489 $10,123,000
7 St. Vincent $2,354,000 (-38) $1,379 $36,612,000
8 Fury $1,900,000 (-49) $1,105 $79,150,000
9 Birdman $1,855,000 (-25) $2,152 $14,407,000
10 The Theory of Everything $1,500,000 (+104) $10,714 $2,796,000

The first two games in the ‘Hunger Games’ franchise opened to $152 million and $158 million, which makes the $123 million opening weekend for ‘Mockingjay’ look a little rough in comparison. Could audiences be dealing with fatigue for this seemingly wildly popular franchise? Was the promise of this movie only being half of the final chapter (it’s right there in the title) enough to turn off a lot of people? These are the questions we can ask ourselves now and in the coming weeks, where we can patiently watch and see if this entry has legs as strong as its predecessors, which each made north of $400 million. After all, 2014 has been the year of seemingly reliable franchises and stars underperforming. It wouldn’t be out of place.

And yet $123 million in three days is huge. Let’s not forget that, even as we question everything we know about this series’ popularity.

It was actually a fairly strong weekend all over the top 10. ‘Big Hero 6’ held onto second place, grossing $20 million for a $135 million total. At this rate, $200 million should happen, especially since so much of the direct competition is so un-family friendly. It’s no ‘Frozen.’ but even Disney knows that was a lightning in a bottle phenomenon. They'll take this and be happy with it.

In third place, ‘Interstellar’ continued doing solid business, making $15 million for a $120 million gross. Its path to $200 million isn't a surefire thing quite yet, but it’s still a possibility. As long as it continues to play well in IMAX theaters, Christopher Nolan’s space epic should do okay in the end. But just how well? And it can it be considered a success if it doesn’t his $200 million?

And while we’re talking about successes, how about that ‘Gone Girl,’ which is still chugging along in fifth place, adding $2 million to its gross (which sits at $156 million)? Speaking of movies that have been playing extremely well to older audiences, how about that ‘St. Vincent,’ which is is starting to look like it may have a serious shot at hitting $50 million? Everyone imagined that these movies would do well, but the fact that they’re doing this well is actually pretty remarkable.

Meanwhile, two awards season favorites cracked the top 10 in limited release, with ‘Birdman’ and ‘The Theory of Everything’ making great use of their expansions. They won’t do huge numbers, but they will do the kind of numbers that will lend them more credence when the Oscars roll around.

In fact, the only real “ouch” moment in the entire top 10 belongs to ‘Dumb and Dumber To,’ which plummeted from first to fourth place, dropping a painful 72%. The movie was cheap and everything will be okay in the end, but now the marathon to $100 million is looking far more difficult.

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