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Weekend Estimates: Mockingjay Tops $100 Million, But Only Just

November 22nd, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 is about to record the most disappointing $100 million weekend ever, based on Sunday’s estimate from Lionsgate. Why disappointing? Because its $101.025 million projected opening follows the $158 million earned by Catching Fire on this weekend in 2013 (then the sixth-biggest weekend ever), and the $122 million debut of Mockingjay—Part 1 this weekend last year. That marks a decline of 20% or so from one installment of the franchise to the next, which is the worst performance of any franchise to have recorded a $100 million start. Global numbers tell a similar story: $247 million this weekend against Part 1’s $275 million. However, once we get that troubling statistic out the way, this is also a reason for celebration: $100 million domestically and $250 million globally in one weekend is still a huge amount of money, and caps a spectacularly successful franchise for Lionsgate.

If Mockingjay—Part 2 delivers on its $101.025 million projected weekend (and the other numbers I’m seeing suggests that it will), it will be the 34th-biggest weekend of all time (see list). It also guarantees that the film will beat Insurgent to become Lionsgate’s biggest hit of 2015. What’s troubling for the studio is that the completion of The Hunger Games leaves The Divergent Series as their only serious franchise, and that series of films can only be counted on to produce $200 million–$300 million per film worldwide. Aside from these two, Lionsgate hasn’t had a film top $50 million at the domestic box office all year, which is clearly unsustainable.

The rest of this weekend’s chart sees a variety of films jostling for position going in to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The second-best new release is The Night Before, which will earn around $10.1 million from 2,960 theaters, and land in fourth place behind Spectre ($14.6 million to pass $150 million in its third weekend) and The Peanuts Movie ($12.8 million for $98.9 million to date). The smart money is on Peanuts having a better Thanksgiving, but The Night Before will fill the R-rated comedy niche quite comfortably, and reviews and audience response (including an A- CinemaScore) suggest it will have a good run.

Secret in Their Eyes will struggle, having launched with $6.633 million from 2,392 venues, and most likely not earning enough per theater to stick around beyond Thanksgiving.

Breaking in to the top 10 this weekend is Spotlight, which is leading the charge for Oscar-fancied films at the moment. It will post around $3.6 million from 598 theaters. Its theater average, $6,026, suggests it could expand a little further, but it will need to get some real awards buzz quite soon to maintain its momentum. Brooklyn falls into the same category. It will make a very respectable $1.15 million this weekend from 111 theaters, and should break in to the top 10 over Thanksgiving if it gets a few more theaters.

Opening in limited release this weekend are Carol, for Weinstein and Legend for Universal. Carol will pick up around $250,000 from just four theaters to top the theater averages this weekend. An Oscar nomination for Cate Blanchett seems a virtual certainty, undoubtedly backed by a vigorous campaign from the Weinsteins. Legend is a bit more of an unknown, with relatively weak reviews but a strong pedigree. Tom Hardy will be vying for an Oscar nod for his portrayal of twins Reggie and Ronald Kray. Legend is opening to a weekend around $80,000 from four locations, which is good, but suggests a significant expansion is relatively unlikely.

- Weekend estimates
- Mockingjay Part 2 comps
- The Hunger Games franchise details
- Spectre comps
- James Bond franchise history
- Peanuts comps
- Love the Coopers comps
- The 33 comps
- Prem Ratan Dhan Payo comps
- The Martian comps

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Peanuts Movie, Spectre, The Night Before, Spotlight, Secret in Their Eyes, Brooklyn, Carol, Legend, James Bond, Hunger Games, The Divergent Series, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hardy