The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 should send the series out with a bnag, but it probably won’t be able to top the series highest heights. In reality, it will probably wind up in the low $120M range, which is still a massive result for a film that cost around $150-$160M to produce.
So why is Mockingjay Part 2 not going to reach new series heights? Well, quite simply, demand has gone down for a number of reasons. Many of these book adaptation series’ peak either towards their beginning or towards their end. Hunger Games-fever has gone down significantly since the second series when it was at nearly at critical mass. However, a lot of audiences lost interest when the actual games were over and instead it simply turned into another post-apocalyptic action thriller. Not to mention, the Part 1/Part 2 aspect has become a big no-no with audiences, with the Divergent series going from Allegiant Part 1 and Allegiant Part 2 being replaced with Allegiant and Ascendant. The first Mockingjay film was easily the least popular of the films, with a mediocre 65% on Rotten Tomatoes and general interest waning significantly. With all of these factors, Mockingjay Part 2 will probably open around the same numbers as Mockingjay Part 1. Even the final Twilight film made just $3M more in its opening than its predecessor, and that film was considered even more popular at its breaking point.
One other wide release this weekend is The Night Before, a new R rated Seth Rogen comedy that also stars Joseph Gordon Levitt and Anthony Mackie. Selling a hard R, explicit comedy around Christmas is a very hard sell, with only a very select few of them being successful such as Bad Santa. Releasing a week before Thanksgiving is going to be difficult as audiences typically aren’t very interested in Christmas films just yet. It’s a bit of a tough scenario because its either release right before Thanksgiving and have a few weeks of success or during the much quieter December and likely be out of theaters by Christmas. It will likely be much more popular on home video, as are most Christmas films. The best comparison would probably be A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, perhaps $1-$2M lower without the addition of 3D or the brand recognition.
Finally, the last wide release is crime drama Secret in Their Eyes. The film has an admittedly interesting – if unoriginal – premise, but its heavy duty source material around the holidays, as well as a very poor 31% on Rotten Tomatoes is going to be very rough.
Spotlight is getting a semi-wide release this weekend, and thanks to excellent reviews and general interest, it should be able to do decent business this weekend.
In limited release, Carol and Legend are each getting released in 4 theaters. Carol is easily going to gross $50K plus per theater if not significantly more, while Legend is going to likely be largely ignored thanks to its poor reviews and a premise that seems more geared to general audiences, not an arthouse crowd. It could surprise, but Carol is ultimately going to be the winner here.
- Mockingjay Part 2 – $127M
- Spectre – $17M
- The Peanuts Movie – $14M
- The Night Before – $11M
- Secret in Their Eyes – $6.5M
Bar for Success
Mockingjay is the series finale to one of the biggest blockbusters in decades, so it should really be doing at least $120M this weekend. Secret in their Eyes is fine at $10M, while The Night Before should be doing $20M.