US Box Office Report

Audiences not as hungry for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 as predicted

By Rich Matthews

While it still effortlessly beat the year's highest opening weekend gross – Transformers: Age Of Extinction's $100m – Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 fell more than $30m short of previous franchise entry Catching Fire.

With $123m, the first half of cleaved-in-twain final novel Mockingjay, even fell nearly £30m behind the first film in the Hunger Games series. Admittedly, Interstellar still had a grip on all the IMAX screens that Catching Fire ran on, but that would only account for some $4-5m.

It's more likely that this is a backlash about splitting final entries and is similar to the drop suffered by last year's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in the US. We'll have to wait a year to find out if Mockingjay Part 2 can mirror Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 by becoming the biggest (and last) chapter in its franchise. Of course, we only to wait a few weeks to see how The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies fares.

Internationally, Mockingjay's movement was stronger, to the tune of $152m (pacing some five per cent ahead of Catching Fire), which takes its worldwide opening to $275m, just behind Catching Fire's overall global opening.

Last week's leader, Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels sequel Dumb and Dumber To tumbled a hefty 62 per cent to gross $13.8m and land at fourth place. Its domestic total now stands at $57.5m and $70.8m globally. Disney's kids superhero adventure Big Hero 6 and Christopher Nolan's space epic Interstellar rose above the Dumb sequel, with Baymax and co still pipping Matthew McConaughey to the post, taking $20.1m to raise its domestic tally to a healthy $135.7m and its worldwide gross to $185.2m, with lots of key territories still waiting in the New Year wings. Currently, it's pacing just over $1m ahead of Frozen in the US at the same point.

Interstellar, meanwhile, took in $15.1m to raise it's total to $129.7m, but, more impressively, its Earth-wide gross to an impressive $449.7m, so it has a long way to go to match Inception's $825.5m, but is on course to zoom in on Gravity's $716.4m. At the other end of the chart, Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything, starring an awards-buzzing Eddie Redmayne, debuted at 10 at only 140 theatre count, grossing $1.5m for a total of $2.8m.

The remainder of the chart, from five to nine, was David Fincher's Gone Girl with $2.8m ($156.8m domestic, $327.7m worldwide), Relativity's Beyond The Lights with $2.6m ($10.1m), Bill Murray being curmudgeonly in St Vincent with $2.4m ($37m), Brad Pitt riding his tank in Fury with $1.9m ($79.1m, $138.5m), and Michael Keaton in the critically acclaimed Birdman with $1.86m ($15m).

Next weekend, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are back in Horrible Bosses 2 and family animation spin-off Penguins of Madagascar entry the holidays fray, followed swiftly the ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch in Oscar-bait The Imitation Game.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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