Catnips Elbow Grease and the whole gang were back for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 this weekend, as it grossed an estimated $123 million domestically and $275 million worldwide. That gave it the highest domestic opening of 2014 ($23 million better than Trans4mers‘ $100 million) and gave the Hunger Games franchise an unprecedented three $100 million+ openings in a row. Somehow, this was considered a disappointment.
Mockingjay‘s debut doesn’t compare favorably to the other movies in the Hunger Games franchise, though: it’s down 22 percent from Catching Fire‘s $158 million, and is also significantly lower than the original movie’s $152 million. More surprising is the fact that Mockingjay wound up lower than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1′s $125 million and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1‘s $138 million. [BoxOfficeMojo]
Though if the reviews are to be believed, the film ended just before the climax, and the studio still managed to squeeze $275 million out of the first half of the worst book. So one way to look at it is that the opening was down 22%. Another way to look at it is that they were still able to make ungodly amounts of money charging twice for a single installment of an already-serialized product. If you applied the YA adaptation model to famous movies of the past, we’d get things like “The Godfather Saga 7: Don Corleone At The Andolini Mansion Part 1.” Anyway, I attribute much of that 22% drop to the lack of Futurebeard.
In terms of demographics, Lionsgate said Mockingjay played in line with Catching Fire, with females making up 60 percent of the audience, while 52 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.
Mockingjay — Part 1 also earned mixed reviews, and audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore, compared to an A for the previous two installments. [HollywoodReporter]
A- doesn’t sound mixed, but it’s considered so when you’re dealing with teenage girls.
Elsewhere, Dumb and Dumber To plummeted 62% from its surprising opening weekend, as the curiosity factor wore off and the probably-pretty-sucky factor set in. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Gone Girl (our review) was in its eighth week of release and still ended up in the top five, closing in on $157 million domestically. Interstellar (our review) also surpassed both Gravity and Inception in international numbers, now with $329 million worldwide. The Theory of Everything (our review) surged into the top ten as it expanded to 140 theaters, for a $10,000+ per-screen average, the second highest in the top 10 behind Mockingjay. Hollywood Reporter referred to it as an “awards contender” and I hope that’s not true, but if it is, Academy voters are easier to pander to than country fans.
Next week brings us only two wide releases, Horrible Bosses 2 and Penguins of Madagascar, which is of course the fourth film in Dreamworks’ Madagascar franchise, spun off from Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, with plans to make the Penguins series its own franchise. God I’m glad I don’t have kids. In any case, this weekend will be a great time to stay home eating Thanksgiving leftovers or to catch up on the surprising number of solid films this Fall – Gone Girl, Interstellar, Birdman, Nightcrawler, Boyhood, etc. I’ll probably catch Whiplash or Citizenfour. The sequel industry will be fine, support quality so we can have nice things.