B.O. Roundup, November 21-23: 'Mockingjay' Wins 2014's Biggest Debut But Dips a Bit

Sunday, 23 November 2014 12:41 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, November 21-23: 'Mockingjay' Wins 2014's Biggest Debut But Dips a Bit

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opened huge this weekend, easily securing the title for the biggest debut of the year.

In spite of that big success, the latest Hunger Games marked a notable dip from the outstanding openings of its predecessors.

That Mockingjay - Part 1 would be the biggest movie of 2014 has been a foregone conclusion for months.  Lionsgate's premiere series is a legitimate phenomenon among audiences of all ages, Jennifer Lawrence is more popular than ever, and a dynamite marketing campaign stoked the hype-fires expertly.

So it's absolutely no surprise that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 raked up an estimated $123.0 million from 4,151 theaters in North America.

This year has been lacking massive blockbuster debuts like this; counting Mockingjay, only two movies have opened to over $100 million domestically.  Katniss Everdeen's second-to-last cinematic adventure zipped past the $100.038 that Transformers: Age of Extinction earned over the summer (does anybody else suspect juked stats on that one?).  That puts this sequel at 15 on the all-time opening weekend chart.

That's great for the first part of Mockingjay, right?  Undoubtedly.  Lionsgate basically just backed up dumptrucks full of money into its lobby and cemented the status of this as one of the most popular franchises on the books.  But compared to the first two movies, this debut is actually a substantial drop. 

In 2012, The Hunger Games shocked box office prognosticators by debuting to the tune of $152.5 million.  Last year's Catching Fire improved upon that with a whopping $158.0 million.

Why, with everything going for it, did Mockingjay- Part 1 dip in its debut?  That Part 1 is undoubtedly part of it.  The increasingly common practice of dividing event movies into two films ruffles some feathers; audiences who aren't hardcore fans are less likely to pony up hard-earned dough for what feels like half a movie.  There's also the fact that the last novel in Suzanne Collins's trilogy is unanimously regarded as the weakest of the three.

Add in some seriously cold winter weather in much of the country, and a 22% dip from Catching Fire's debut makes more sense.  Then there's also the critical response which, while still very positive, was less ecstatic than the reception of the first two movies.  Finally, the fact that Interstellar is still monopolizing IMAX screens could have caused a small dent in Mockingjay - Part 1's overall business.

If the 2014 box office has taught us anything, though, it's that crazy, front-loaded opening weekends aren't necessary for big hits.  This movie will keep earning like mad over the next several weeks and months.  Plus, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opened in 85 international markets, earning $152 million more, according to current estimates.

Check out the top ten movies in North America for the weekend of November 21st through 23rd:

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I......................$123.0 million.............New Release

2. Big Hero 6.......................................................................$20.0 million..............$135.7 million

3. Interstellar.......................................................................$15.1 million..............$120.6 million

4. Dumb & Dumber To.......................................................$13.8 million..............$57.4 million

5. Gone Girl........................................................................$2.8 million................$156.8 million

6. Beyond the Lights.........................................................$2.6 million................$10.1 million

7. St. Vincent......................................................................$2.3 million................$36.6 million

8. Fury.................................................................................$1.8 million................$79.1 million

9. Birdman..........................................................................$1.8 million................$14.4 million

10. The Theory of Everything...........................................$1.5 million................$2.7 million

With Thanksgiving bringing families together on Thursday, Horrible Bosses 2 and Penguins of Madagascar will enter the box office fray on Wednesday. 

Will either the comedy sequel or the animated spinoff manage to usurp The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 as the biggest movie at the multiplex?


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