Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 registered the largest opening weekend of 2014 with $121.898 million this weekend. However, the third installment of the blockbuster franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence debuted a significant 23 percent below the $158.07 million start of last year’s Catching Fire and 20 percent below the $152.54 million start of 2012’s The Hunger Games. While Mockingjay – Part 1 had been largely expected to open below Catching Fire due in part to not having an IMAX boost this time around, the degree of the drop-off from Catching Fire was certainly unexpected.
With that said, it should be noted that in addition to easily generating the largest opening weekend of 2014 (the previous high being the $100.04 million start of Transformers: Age of Extinction), Mockingjay – Part 1 also claimed the sixth largest opening weekend ever for the month of November and the 15th largest opening weekend of all-time (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). Those are still impressive accomplishments, especially without the aid of either 3D or IMAX sales.
Mockingjay – Part 1 opened with $55.14 million on Friday, which included $17.0 million from Thursday night shows. The film declined 26 percent on Saturday to gross $40.91 million and fell 37 percent on Sunday to gross $25.85 million. That placed the film’s opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.21 to 1, which was just below the 2.21 to 1 ratio of Catching Fire. The ratio suggests that Mockingjay – Part 1 will likely display similar holding power to that of Catching Fire, though Mockingjay – Part 1 could potentially hold up slightly better due in part from having opened significantly lower and in part from not having to face competition from Frozen. Mockingjay – Part 1 received an A- rating on CinemaScore.
Disney’s Big Hero 6 took in $20.12 million to remain in second place. The 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios was down 42 percent from last weekend. Even though Mockingjay – Part 1 didn’t pack the same punch as Catching Fire did last year, it still had a clear effect on holdovers, as percentage declines from last weekend were significant in general. Big Hero 6 has grossed $135.75 million through 17 days of release. That places the film 11.5 percent ahead of the $121.75 million 17-day take of 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph (which fell 44 percent in its third weekend to gross $18.58 million). While it will face new direct competition from Fox’s Penguins of Madagascar beginning on Wednesday, Big Hero 6 is likely to hold up nicely over Thanksgiving weekend thanks in part to strong word of mouth and in part based on historical trends for family fare over the Thanksgiving frame.
It was a fairly close race for third place this weekend between Paramount’s Interstellar and Universal’s Dumb and Dumber To. With $15.34 million, Interstellar topped Dumb and Dumber To by an estimated $1.26 million for the frame. Interstellar was down a significant 46 percent from last weekend, as despite continued IMAX shows, the Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film still took a hit from Mockingjay – Part 1. Interstellar continues to perform below expectations with $120.93 million after 17 days of wide release. The film is also falling further and further behind the pace of last year’s Gravity, as it is now running 29 percent behind the $169.56 million 17-day take of Gravity (which fell just 31 percent in its third weekend to gross $30.03 million). While Interstellar could experience stronger than usual stabilization over the next two weeks, the film will be facing very direct competition from both Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in December.
On the heels of last weekend’s stronger than expected first place debut, Dumb and Dumber To fell three spots and a massive 61 percent from last weekend to land in fourth with $14.08 million. A fan-driven opening weekend performance combined with poor critical reviews and lackluster word of mouth among moviegoers (not to mention the added presence of Mockingjay – Part 1) clearly helped lead to a hefty second weekend decline for the long-awaited comedy sequel starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Despite the second weekend decline, Dumb and Dumber To is running in line with expectations at this point with a very solid ten-day take of $57.73 million. However, the film has now fallen 6 percent behind the $61.57 million ten-day pace of last year’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (which fell just 38 percent in its second weekend to gross $20.01 million).
On the limited front, Focus’ The Theory of Everything expanded nicely with $1.51 million from 140 locations. That placed the James Marsh directed awards season hopeful in tenth place among all films and gave the film a per-location average of $10,798 for the frame. The Theory of Everything has grossed $2.81 million through 17 days of platform release and will continue its expansion over the upcoming Thanksgiving frame.
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