Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 blasted past Transformers: Age of Extinction to post the top opening of the year domestically, but trailed the first two installments in the YA franchise by a hefty margin.
Mockingjay grossed $123 million from 4,151 locations, down 22 percent from the $158.1 million debut of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire a year ago and 19 percent from the $152.5 million launch of The Hunger Games in March 2012 (both those films shattered numerous records).
The reverse is true overseas, where Mockingjay outperformed the first two films, grossing $152 million, or four percent ahead of Catching Fire ($146 million). That puts Mockingjay's worldwide total at $275 million, one of the best showings of the year, even if it didn't match Catching Fire's tally ($294.1 million).
Heading into the weekend, most tracking services showed Mockingjay opening to $145 million to $150 million in North America. There are several likely reasons why it didn’t hit that mark, even as it easily beat the $100 million debut of Age of Extinction.
Lionsgate decided to split Collins’ final book into two films, and there is arguably less action in Mockingjay — Part 1. Director Frances Lawrence shot the movies back-to-back at a reported cost of $250 million, with Mockingjay — Part 2 set to open Nov. 20, 2015.
Mockingjay — Part 1 also earned mixed reviews, and audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore, compared to an A for the previous two installments.
And Mockingjay is the first film in the series without an Imax berth (that’s because Imax is still carrying Interstellar) but that equates to less than $5 million.
The movie again stars Lawrence opposite Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, WoodyHarrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and introduces Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer to the series based on Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster YA book series.
Elsewhere in North America, Disney’s animated family film, Big Hero 6, came in No. 2 in its third weekend with an estimated $20.1 million for a domestic total $135.7 million and early worldwide haul of $185.2 million.
Interstellar took in roughly $15 million in its third outing for a North American cume of $120 million-plus. Both Big Hero 6 and Interstellar continued to enjoy nice holds.
After topping the domestic chart last weekend, Dumb and Dumber To fell a steep 62 percent in its second weekend, grossing $13.8 million for a domestic total of $57.5 million.
In its eighth week in release, David Fincher’s box-office sensation Gone Girl rounded out the top five, ending Sunday with north of $156 million domestically.
Focus Features’ Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything did impressive business as it expanded into 140 theaters in its third weekend, grossing $1.5 million to land at No. 10. The award contender’s location average was $10,714.
Here are the estimated top 10 films for the weekend of Nov. 21-23 at the domestic box office:
Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Change, Cume
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, 1/4,151, Lionsgate, $123 million
2. Big Hero 6, 3/3,650, Disney, $20.1 million, -42%, $135.7 million
3. Interstellar, 3/3,415, Paramount/Warner Bros., $15.1 million, -46%, $120.7 million
4. Dumb and Dumber To, 2/3,188, Universal/Red Granite, $13.8 million, -62%, $57.5 million
5. Gone Girl, 8/1,609, Fox/New Regency, $2.8 million, -38%, $156.8 million
6. Beyond the Lights, 2/1,766, Relativity, $2.6 million, -58%, $10.1 million
7. St. Vincent, 7/1,707, The Weinstein Co., $2.4 million, -38%, $36.6 million
8. Fury, 6/1,702, Sony/QED, $1.9 million, -49%, $79.2 million
9. Birdman, 6/862, Fox Searchlight/New Regency, $1.9 million, -25%, $14.4 million
10. The Theory of Everything, 3/140, Focus Features, $1.5 million, +104%, $2.8 million