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Weekend Wrap-Up: Moviegoers Satisfied with Final Course of Hunger Games

November 24th, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

The Curse of the High Expectations strikes again. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 became the fifth film of the year to open with more than $100 million. This should be a reason to celebrate, but it marks a very steep decline from previous films in the Hunger Games franchise. The other two wide releases, The Night Before and Secret in Their Eyes, both failed to meet expectations, leaving the overall box office softer than anticipated. Granted, it still grew 60% from last weekend to $173 million, but this is 10% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2015 is still ahead of 2014 by a comfortable margin of 3.6% or $320 million. It would take a sizable collapse for 2015 to not come out on top in terms of raw box office dollars. On the other hand, it wouldn't take too much for it to slip below ticket price inflation, which is about 2% this year.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 easily won the weekend box office race with $102.67 million during its debut. This is a massive number; however, it is nearly $20 million less than Part 1 opened with last year and $55 million less than what Catching Fire opened with just two years ago. The fact that it is the final installment in the franchise and its good reviews should help its legs. Anything more than $200 million would be enough to break even before it reaches the home market. It should finish closer to $300 million, especially if it remains in wide release through Christmas.

It looks like Spectre fell to second place with $15.04 million over the weekend for a total of $154.15 million. The holidays should help it this weekend and it remains on pace to hit $200 million, if it can remain in theaters through Christmas. That's not a 100% sure bet.

The Peanuts Movie slipped a spot to third with $13.20 million over the weekend, which was within a rounding error of expectations. However, it did keep it from crossing $100 million over the weekend. It very likely got there on Monday, but the official numbers are not in yet.

The Night Before only managed fourth place with $9.88 million, well below expectations. Its per theater average is low enough that it might not last till Christmas, so it will need to rely on becoming a cult classic, which is possible given its target audience and its reviews. Only time will tell.

Secret in Their Eyes flipped with just $6.65 million over the weekend. Its 34% positive reviews suggest short legs and its per theater average is already low enough that some theater owners will be looking to drop it as soon as they are contractually able to.

On a happier note, Spotlight rose into the top ten with $3.53 million over the weekend for a total of $5.80 million after 17 days of release. Its per theater average is $5,900, which is not enough to suggest significant further expansion, but it is enough to suggest legs. Awards Season begins today with the Independent Spirit Awards nominations (expect our story on that in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, after I digest the surprises and snubs). Any Awards Season success will help its box office chances and success at the box office will help its Awards Season chances.

Looking at the sophomore class, Love the Coopers was the best, but it fell 50% to just $4.13 million over the weekend for a total of $15.13 million. The film only cost $18 million to make, so it will earn more than it cost to make shortly. It will still need a good run internationally and / or on the home market to break even. Maybe it will become an annual tradition on TV and it will break even in a few years. The 33 fell 60% to just $2.34 million over the weekend for a total of $10.00 million after two. Its per theater average is under $1,000, so its theater count will be decimated this coming weekend. The final film is My All-American, which did so poorly that we don't even have the final numbers yet. Estimates have it down more than 70% to just $370,000 over the weekend for a total of just $2 million after two weeks of release. This is yet another bomb from Clarius Entertainment.

Filed under: Weekend Wrap-up, My All-American, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, The Peanuts Movie, Spectre, The Night Before, Spotlight, Secret in Their Eyes, Love the Coopers, The 33, Hunger Games