This weekend, Jennifer Lawrence and company debuted the final chapter of the massively successful Hunger Games franchise. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, distributed by Lionsgate, earned an estimated $101 million in its opening weekend. A huge number without question- the fifth highest opening of the year and unadjusted the thirty-first in domestic box office history- yet it also marks the lowest opening weekend gross in the entire franchise. $100 million can never be seen as a failure, but certainly theories will and have already arose on why.
Among the theories include Hunger Games fatigue. Mockingjay – Part 1 opened last year a notch down on terms of box office, reviews and general word of mouth which may have played into the factors on the continued downward trajectory of Part 2. As could a bit of resentment towards splitting the final chapter up into two films (a practice implemented on the final chapters of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchise as well a something modeled somewhat similarly on television with the final seasons of shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men). Another theory lies in a perceived reticence in the films’ bleak subject matter so soon after the Paris attacks as well severe weather in certain regions of the United States. Here’s our rave review of Mockingjay – Part 2.
The original The Hunger Games opened to a staggering $152 million in March of 2012 onward to a total domestic haul of $408 million. The second installment- Catching Fire- climbed to $158 million in November of 2013 and reached a franchise high of $424 million. Mockingjay – Part 1 opened last year to $121 million and ended its run at $337. Mockingjay – Part 2 will undoubtedly be a success in the end (it already is) but looks to be the lowest performer in the series overall, something that’s appearing a constant in current blockbusters after Spectre recently failed to reach the heights of the previously 007 installment Skyfall.
One theory that may be the most valid is the impending arrival Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which looks to reinvigorate the box office. In the meantime, it may be sucking the life out of everything else.