A few feet of snow can't stop Katniss Everdeen.
Although not yet as powerful as the previous films in the franchise, Jennifer Lawrence's “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I” will easily crush the other tributes at the box office this weekend, after bringing in a solid-if-unspectacular $17 million on Thursday night.
The figure marks the biggest Thursday night debut of 2014 to date, handily eclipsing the $11.2 million brought in by Marvel's “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
However, the sum is noticeably lower than “Catching Fire's” $25 million opening last year, as well as the $19.7 million earned by the first “Hunger Games” in 2012. The first film went on to gross a huge $408 million domestically, while “Catching Fire” topped it with $424 million.
“Mockingjay” is still being tracked for a massive opening weekend haul, which could surpass $140 million, making it the biggest opening weekend of the year. Younger viewers may be waiting for Friday night and Saturday to catch the film, while its opening may have also been adversely affected by stormy conditions which left much of the Northeast under a blanket of snow.
With no other major releases opening, “Mockingjay” will be distantly trailed by holdovers “Big Hero 6,” “Interstellar” and “Dumb and Dumber To.”
The third of four films based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling book series, “Mockingjay” also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II” will arrive in November 2015.