It should be no surprise to anyone that "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2" took the box office crown this weekend. Although in less than impressive fashion, when compared to the previous 3 movies in the franchise: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" opened with $158 million; the first film opened with $152 million; and "Mockingjay – Part 1 opened with $121 million.
Obviously, opening with over $100 million is nothing to sneeze at. Most films released theatrically every year don’t even make that much throughout their entire theatrical runs. But it’s all relative; especially when budgets are in the $120 to $150 million range, not including P&A costs, which, for a film like any in the "Hunger Games" franchise, are likely quite high.
And Lionsgate now has to find another very profitable franchise to replace it. "Enders Game" didn’t do its job. And then there’s the "Divergent" series which, while financial successes, haven’t caught the same kind of fire (no pun intended) that the "Hunger Games" films have globally.
In fact, I wouldn’t surprised if Lionsgate milks "Games" dry; there’s a "Hunger Games" theme park in development, to start; and I’m surprised they haven’t done what other studios have done with their super franchises – expanded the universe via spin-off movies, TV shows and the like. Maybe announcements are forthcoming.
"Spectre" is in second place this weekend, with a cumulative gross of $153.7 million domestic Although much of its earnings have come from overseas: $524 million worth. Star Daniel Craig has said that he’s ready to kiss the Bond franchise goodbye, leading to more speculation on who might replace him. And I don’t blame him. I’d guess that, for any actor, job security is primal, and signing a long-term contract to play a globally popular character with a rich history, would be attractive. But, really, Daniel Craig’s acting life has been dominated by Bond for the last decade! He’s made other movies, like "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in 2011 maybe the most prominent; but I think he’ll likely always be most remembered for playing the character – as I think is the case for the likes of Sean Connery and Roger Moore. And I can only imagine that it might get tiring playing the same character every couple of years, spending months in preparation, filming and the publicity tour that comes after the film is complete and has to be sold to audiences before it opens in theaters. It was probably exciting when he first signed the contract; but 4 movies in 10 years later, he’s more than ready to move on.
In terms of other new openings, of note, "The Secret in Their Eyes" (which, I must admit, actually didn’t realize opened this weekend), earned a 5th place slot, with a less than impressive $6.6 million take at the box office, averaging just under $3,000 per screen. Given the star power and acting talent, I would’ve expected a much stronger opening – at least double, if not triple what it actually made. I have yet to see the film, so I can’t offer any informed opinion on it; but the fact that critics were mixed may offer an explanation. Rotten Tomatoes lists a 43% rating, and a critical consensus that argues the film "wastes its incredible cast on a remake that fails to improve upon — or even make a compelling case for its own existence in addition to – the remarkable original."
Maybe that explains its underwhelming opening box office.
This week should be interesting, with "Creed" opening wide; Warner Bros. definitely has confidence in it, releasing it on over 3,300 screens – a rarity for a film written, directed and starring people of African descent. I’d have to do some research, but this could be one of the widest openings ever for a film that meets those 3 criteria. Also reviews have been strong, with Rotten Tomatoes listing an 89% rating right now, based on 18 reviews submitted. That will likely hold when all the reviews come in before the movie opens Wednesday, give or take a few points above or below. But it’s off to a strong start; lots of interest from old and young, regardless of skin color. Should be a definite crowd-pleaser! I’m looking forward to what its opening weekend numbers will be, especially with "Hunger Games" going into its second week, and Disney opening an animated family feature (which tend to be big draws), titled "The Good Dinosaur," on 3,600 screens.
The top 10 for this weekend, including both earnings for the weekend, as well as total to date.
|1||The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2||LGF||$101,025,000||$101,025,000|
|3||The Peanuts Movie||Fox||$12,800,000||$98,943,137|
|4||The Night Before||Sony||$10,100,000||$10,100,000|
|5||The Secret in their Eyes (2015)||STX||$6,633,000||$6,633,000|
|6||Love the Coopers||CBS||$3,925,000||$14,919,225|
|10||Bridge of Spies||BV||$1,945,000||$65,177,412|