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Weekend Box Office: Mockingjay Opens to Year's Best but Also Franchise Low

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By Chris Kavan - 11/23/14 at 07:55 PM CT

It was a good news/bad news kind of weekend. On the one hand, there was no doubt Hunger Games was going to dominate the weekend - the only question was how big it was going to get. That question was answered and although it certainly posted impressive numbers, it was a bit under the expectations set by the first two films in this monster franchise. Still, it had many factors to take into account and its lower opening should by no means be taken as a sign of franchise fatigue. Let's break down the weekend:

1) THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 1

It was pretty much a sure thing that Mockingjay was going to open to the biggest numbers of the year. But going in to this weekend it wasn't if, but by how much, it was going to do that by. Mockingjay posted a $123 million opening - easily besting Transformers: Age of Extinction's $100 million opening to become the best debut of 2014. However, the numbers were down quite a bit from The Hunger Games ($152.5 million) and Catching Fire ($158 million). It was also slightly below the opening for Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows, Part 1 ($125 million). There are a few good reasons why Mockingjay hit these lower numbers - lack of IMAX screens took some millions away, the reviews weren't as good this time around and Mockingjay is considered the weakest entry in the series book-wise, so people may be waiting for Part 2 before committing. Still, it posted the 15th highest weekend of all time and, in a silver lining, the international numbers look better than Catching Fire (so far) - taking in $152 million world-wide (up 4% from Catching Fire) - so even if it may be doing a bit worse for wear stateside, when all the numbers are taken into account, the total global gross should be right in line with the previous films. With a start like this, Mockingjay is looking at a $300 million total, but it will probably not have enough steam to catch up to Guardians of the Galaxy ($331 million) and will have to settle for second place this year.

2) BIG HERO 6

Keeping hold of its second-place spot, Disney's Big Hero 6 took in another $20.1 million to raise its total to $135.7 million. With the competition from Mockinjay, Big Hero 6 took a 42% hit week-to-week. It's going to have a tough fight with Penguins of Madagascar coming this week, but it's still looking like it will be able to hit the $200 million mark.



3) INTERSTELLAR

Also holding on to its third-place spot, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar dipped about 47% in its third weekend to wind up with $15.1 million. That give the space epic a new total of $120.7 million. The visually-stunning has relied on IMAX for some big gains, but it's now looking like it's going to close below the $175 million mark.



4) DUMB AND DUMBER TO

It seems Harry and Lloyd burned off most of the steam it had on opening weekend as the comedy sequel took a pretty big 62% drop in its second weekend. Dumb and Dumber To brought in $13.8 million, giving the film a $57.4 million total. It's going to be facing direct comedy competition from Horrible Bosses 2 and with the drop it has already taken the film is probably going to fall short of $100 million before it leaves theaters.



5) GONE GIRL

Rounding out the top five for the second-straight weekend, Gone Girl (in its 8th straight weekend in the top five) took in another $2.81 million and it now stands at a pretty stellar $156.8 million. Fincher and co. should be proud of this one - so maybe we can finally get that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sequel up and running now.



Outside the top five: The Theory of Everything based on the life of physicist Stephen Hawking expanded to 140 location and jumped 104% - and from 17th to 10th place in the process - bringing in $1.5 million for a total of $2.8 million. This is another film that will continue to expand and should play well going into awards season.

Foxcather had a minimal expansion from 6 to 24 theaters and gained 75% taking in $474,000 (18th place) for a still-impressive $19,750 per-theater-average (the largest average aside from Mockingjay this week). We'll see how this continues to play as it also expands.

Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, and the long holiday weekend will be greeted by Penguins of Madagascar, Horrible Bosses 2 and WWII Enigma code drama The Imitation Game.

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