Weekend Box Office: ‘Mockingjay 2’ Debuts At $101 Million, A New Low For ‘The Hunger Games’ Franchise

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.

Spotlight and Brooklyn both did well in their expanding releases, but not as well as Carol (my review), which opened in four theaters, earning $62k per, the third highest of the year behind Sicario and Steve Jobs. Of course, that didn’t work out so hot for Steve Jobs. Still, I have to think people care more about preposterously elegant lesbians than the iPod guy, and it will probably get a bump from all the Cate Blanchett Oscar talk. If people start talking Oscars for Steve Jobs, I’m going to punch them in the stomach.

Next weekend will be huge, with Creed, and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur opening, alongside Victor Frankenstein, which I’m sure will be swell.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 $101,025,000 $24,198 $101,025,000
2 Spectre $14,600,000 (-56%) $3,990 $153,702,000
3 The Peanuts Movie $12,800,000 (-46%) $3,487 $98,943,000
4 The Night Before $10,100,000 $3,412 $10,100,000
5 Secret in Their Eyes $6,633,000
$2,773 $6,633,000
6 Love the Coopers $3,925,000 (-52%) $1,508 $14,919,000
7 The Martian $3,700,000 (-44%) $1,774 $213,039,000
8 Spotlight $3,603,000 (+166%) $6,026 $5,879,000
9 The 33 $2,240,000 (-61%) $914 $9,900,000
10 Bridge of Spies $1,945,000 (-54%) $1,270 $65,177,000


[table via ScreenCrush]