‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ easily soared to #1 at the box office with a $101 million debut, with the #2 movie, ‘Spectre’ coming in at $14.6M– a huge lag behind.  The fourth and final (?) movie derived from Suzanne Collins’ best-selling YA novel series, won the weekend, but startlingly was the lowest opening of the franchise.  The first opened with $152M, while the second, ‘Catching Fire’ had the franchise’s highest bow with $158M.  The previous film, ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ opened with $121.8M.  Director Francis Lawrence discussed the possibility of prequel movies, but Katniss Everdeen and friends may be running out of steam with film-goers.  It’s entirely possible that this may be the first film in the series to not top $300M in the U.S.

Some critics are now questioning Lionsgate’s decision to divide ‘Mockingjay’ into two films, a trend that has worked for the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’ franchises.  Overall, the studio should earn more that way, but audiences may have wearied on the series, which has seen its premise co-opted by other YA dystopian adaptations like ‘The Maze Runner’ and ‘Divergent’ films.

Even so, ‘Mockingjay Part 2’ had the fifth highest opening of 2015, so that’s hardly a failure.  But the odds aren’t necessarily in ‘The Hunger Games’ favor as this film has only the briefest of runs to really score before ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ arrives on December 18th.  Already, ‘Mockingjay’ may have been hurt by the media’s narrow-focused ‘Star Wars’ coverage, which stole a lot of its focus.

The rest of the Top Five remained fairly rigid with ‘Spectre’ and ‘The Peanuts Movie’ continuing to do well, while new releases ‘The Night Before’ and ‘The Secret In Their Eyes’ stumbling.

  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2′ (Lionsgate) – $101M
  2. Spectre (Sony) – $14.6M
  3. The Peanuts Movie (20th Century Fox) – $12.8
  4. The Night Before (Sony) – $10.1M
  5. The Secret In Their Eyes (STX Entertainment) – $6.6M

All three new movies fell short of their predicted gross and all have been hurt by tepid response from audiences and critics, with ‘The Secret In Their Eyes’ faring the worst with only 41% fresh reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.  (‘Mockingjay’ earned 71% and ‘The Night Before’ earned 64%.)  ‘The Night Before’ may have legs, though with its Christmas theme and Sony will be able to cash in on this movie for years to come with Yuletide sales spikes and TV airings.

Next week sees two strong contenders arriving.  Disney/Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ should do well, but isn’t getting the advance buzz of the previous release ‘Inside Out’ so it’s unclear how that will translate in terms of box office.  Also opening is ‘Creed’ starring Michael B. Jordan in a highly anticipated drama which is sort of a sequel(ish) to the ‘Rocky’ series.

Will either film take down ‘Mockingjay’?  Check back next week to find out!

Source: Cinema Blend