Lionsgate reports that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opened to $55 million on Friday, including Thursday night's $17 million start. While Friday's showing is down 22.5 percent from Catching Fire's $71 million opening day, the first Mockingjay drew a stronger Thursday-to-Friday multiple (3.2x) than did Catching Fire (2.8x) from its $25.25 million early shows on the same weekend last year.
Fans and casual viewers didn't feel the need to rush out so abruptly for Mockingjay - Part 1, which can likely be explained by a number of reasons such as the lack of a true ending to the story, the general perception that Mockingjay is the least favorite among fans of the original book series, hazardous snowstorms plaguing some parts of the country, and other contributing factors. How the film plays out from here will be even more telling, although it seems like the general consensus for now is that split stories and split finales have finally played out some of their welcome among audiences. The only franchise to mostly escape that fate thus far has been Harry Potter, which essentially began the trend with November 2010's Deathly Hallows Part 1. That film bowed to a $61.7 million opening day as part of a $125 million weekend.
Early word of mouth for the first half of Mockingjay is mostly positive with an 83 percent Flixster score as of Saturday morning, although that's down from Catching Fire's excellent 1-day after score of 94 percent. Critics haven't been as kind to the film this time around either (driven by the same aversion to split finales), giving it a 68 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. All of this being said, the film will still claim 2014's best opening weekend thus far with a projected $122 million. That figure could go higher if this entry proves to be a bit more back-loaded by general audiences. Where the film lands in the end is difficult to tell right now given the new territory the franchise is in right now, but combined with strong overseas returns, Lionsgate still has plenty of reason to be satisfied as they prepare the series' final film for November 2015.
Meanwhile, Big Hero 6 took second place yesterday with $4.48 million. That figure was down 44 percent from last Friday, identical to Wreck-It Ralph's drop on its third Friday. Big Hero 6 has tallied $120.1 million domestically so far, placing it 12 percent ahead of Ralph's pace. BoxOffice projects an $18.9 million weekend.
Dumb and Dumber To slid 70 percent from opening day to $4.3 million yesterday. With $47.95 million in the bank through eight days of release, BoxOffice is projecting a $13.9 million sophomore frame.
Interstellar was off 49 percent from last Friday to $4.22 million yesterday. Christopher Nolan's space epic has earned a domestic total of $109.8 million through its first 15 days. BoxOffice projects a $14 million third weekend.
Rounding out the top five in a tie for Friday, Gone Girl and Beyond the Lights each brought in $0.8 million. The former title's domestic haul is now up to $154.8 million, while the latter title's 8-day gross stands at $8.3 million.