The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Mocking2ay for short) grossed $101 domestically this weekend, making it the worst of the franchise, well down from the first three, which went $152 million, $158 million, and $121 million, respectively. Mocking2ay‘s gross ($247 worldwide) is disappointing, but only relative to the previous movies. And Lionsgate still got people to pay for two movie tickets from one book, and opened four straight movies at $100+ million, how sad could they possibly be? Crying into their crystal cocaine goblets, I’m sure. Most analysts are predicting less than $300 million domestic for Mock Deuce, in contrast to $400 from the first movie, and $337 from Mock1ngjay.
Elsewhere, this week’s new releases sort of had a rough go of it. Seth Rogen and company’s Christmas comedy, The Night Before, barely broke $10 million. I thought it was actually pretty good, but I probably wouldn’t have sought it out based on the marketing. It seemed like they tried to sell it like it was Neighbors (hijinks! shouting!), even though it wasn’t really that much like Neighbors. The strategy makes sense though, considering Neighbors is the highest-grossing Seth Rogen vehicle (also one of my least favorite). Was this a case of a studio trying to sell what they thought people wanted, only to find out they didn’t want it anymore? Did it make for a confusing pitch? Are Christmas comedies just a tough sell in general? Who knows. Tough business, making comedies. The upside is that the movie only cost $25 million to make, so it could still earn out.
The Night Before was one slot ahead of The Secret In Their Eyes, starring Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, which earned $6.6 million in its opening week. It was the second release from STX, who earlier this year earned $43.5 million on a $5 million budget with Joel Edgerton’s The Gift (which was much better than I was expecting, but with an ending so bad I couldn’t really recommend it). I saw almost zero marketing for The Secret In Their Eyes, odd for a movie starring three Oscar winners, but with a 42% on RottenTomatoes and a B- Cinemascore, maybe they just knew it was a dog and didn’t bother.