The final installment of the Hunger Games franchises may have topped the Hollywood box office this past weekend but it failed to live up to its predecessors.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 grossed $101 million in domestic ticket sales during its weekend debut, according to Box Office Mojo, which ranks as the lowest-grossing opening weekend in the Jennifer Lawrence-starring series. The latest James Bond film, Spectre, finished a distant second, grossing $14.6 million after topping the box office the previous two weekends, while The Peanuts Movie slotted down one spot to third, with $12.8 million.
It was a relatively easy weekend box office victory for the final Hunger Games and its studio, Lionsgate (LGF). Its main competition among new releases was the R-rated holiday comedy The Night Before, which pulled in a little more than $10 million. However, the top film grossed $20 million less in its opening weekend than last year’s Mockingjay – Part 1. In fact, each of the Mockingjay sequels fell short of the first two Hunger Games movies, which averaged roughly $155 million in their domestic openings in 2012 and 2013.
Moviegoers who did turn out for Mockingjay – Part 2 seemed to have a good time, at least, as the movie received an “A-” on Cinemascore. However, both Mockingjay films have typically received more mixed reviews from critics than the first two films in the series, which averaged better than 85% on Rotten Tomatoes versus a sub-70% for the two latest Hunger Games movies.
The new film did fare well overseas, though, with a foreign opening of $146 million that is more or less in line with overseas openings of the franchise’s previous two installments. The previous two films in the franchise picked up the majority of their ticket sales in foreign markets, averaging more than $420 million in overseas box office gross. So, while the Hunger Games series may have lost some of its steam domestically, the final film could at least live up to its predecessors in terms of the foreign box office.
It is also possible that the final Hunger Games film is suffering from an unusual glut of blockbuster films coming out during the fall season. When the first Hunger Games hit theaters, in 2012, the fall was typically a time for studios to tout their most Oscar-worthy fare. But now studios are spacing out their blockbusters throughout the year, which pits The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 against a film like Spectre on one side as well as the upcoming weekend releases like the Rocky sequel Creed and Disney (DIS) and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur.