Lionsgate and the world’s exhibitors were probably betting that nearly everyone who saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 would roll up to the finale.
How wrong they were — and by a long shot. In Australia the finale of the franchise based on Suzanne Collins’ novels rang up $9.8 million on 624 screens. That’s $2 million less than the debut of part 1 and Catching Fire’s $12.5 million opening in 2013.
Some exhibitors were theorizing that the Francis Lawrence-directed action fantasy was impacted by going against the second weekend of Spectre. That may be so although the Bond film plunged by 52 per cent to $5.4 million, scoring $20.6 million so far.
Another possible explanation is that some cinemagoers were so let down by part 1 they had no desire to see how the story ended. Or maybe it’s just that part 2 is bleak, too long and lacking the excitement and thrills of earlier editions.
In the US the film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland fetched $102.6 million, way below part 1’s $121.1 million and Catching Fire’s $158 million.
Internationally, Mockingjay rustled up an estimated $146 million in 87 markets, down from the previous edition’s $154.3 million.
In Oz, the weekend receipts edged up by 10 per cent to $18.7 million, according to Rentrak’s estimate. The Dressmaker advanced to $13.7 million after earning $1.2 million in its fourth frame. Oddball reached $10.8 million and Alex & Eve has collected $447,000, propelling Australian films’ total gross this year to about $82.5 million.
The other openers were all terrible except for Our Times, a Taiwanese romance adapted from an online comedy which reportedly has had more than 3 billion views, which pocketed $148,000 on 13 screens.
Secrets in their Eyes, a remake of an Argentinian thriller directed by Billy Ray and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman, took a dreary $598,000 on 184 screens.
99 Homes, a thriller directed by Ramin Bahrani featuring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern and Noah Lomax, got rave reviews but few takers, making $50,000 on 16 screens and $96,000 with previews.
Someone should ask why Simon Pegg keeps getting leading man roles. After Kill Me Three Times and Man Up, Pegg flops again in Terry Jones’ Absolutely Anything, this time as a schoolteacher who is given God-like powers by a bunch of aliens. Hardly anyone bought that premise, judging by the $26,000 opening on 20 screens, including previews.