“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” dominated the weekend box office with the final film in the science-fiction franchise debuting to $101 million.
That ranks as the year’s fifth biggest opening, but it wasn’t as big a sendoff for Katniss Everdeen and her fellow revolutionaries as some had predicted. The massive bow falls short of tracking that projected the picture would top $120 million in its initial weekend in theaters. It also represents a low for the series, falling far short of the $158.1 million high-water mark established by 2013’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” It’s a sign, perhaps, that interest in the dystopian world of Panem has crested.
Investors in Lionsgate, the studio behind the series, reacted negatively to news that “Mockingjay – Part 2” would miss projections, sending the company’s stock down more than 3% on Friday.
The series made up ground overseas, picking up $147 million after debuting in nearly every significant foreign territory, including China. Lionsgate spent nearly $200 million to make and market the film.
With “Mockingjay – Part 2” sucking most of the air out the multiplexes that left two new releases, Sony’s “The Night Before” and STX/IM Global’s “The Secret In Their Eyes,” struggling to get some recognition. “The Night Before,” a bawdy comedy with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fared best, earning $10.1 million from 2,960 theaters. The film cost $23 million to make.
“The Secret In Their Eyes” wasn’t able to muscle through, with the remake of an acclaimed Argentinian thriller of the same name earning a disappointing $6.6 million for a fifth place finish. The thriller about a team of FBI agents involved in a murder investigation stars Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It cost $19.5 million to produce, and is the latest in a string of adult driven films such as “By the Sea” and “Steve Jobs,” to struggle at the box office this fall.
STX, which bought domestic rights with Route One for $6.5 million, expressed confidence that the film would find its audience over the Thanksgiving period.
“We feel this is too early in the process to give us a full grade,” said Kevin Grayson, distribution chief at STX. “This is going to factor into the Thanksgiving play period, and the twists and surprise ending are going to keep water cooler conversation going.”
The weakness of the new films allowed holdovers “Spectre” and “The Peanuts Movie” to pad their box office results. The latest Bond adventure added $14.6 million to its $153.7 million domestic haul, nabbing second place on the charts. “The Peanuts Movie” finished third, picking up $12.8 million to push its stated total to $98.9 million.
In limited release, the Weinstein Company scored with “Carol.” The critically heralded love story with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara generated $248,149 from four theaters for a strong per-location average of $62,037.
“Reviews and word of mouth will drive this film,” said Erik Lomis, distribution chief at the Weinstein Company. “These are fantastic performances by Rooney and Cate and [director] Todd Haynes delivered some great filmmaking.”