Lionsgate reports this morning that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 bowed to an estimated $46 million on opening day Friday. That figure includes a total of $16 million earned from Thursday night screenings as well as Mockingjay double feature showings from Wednesday night. While the finale's opening day gross marks a new low for the franchise -- coming in 16.5 percent behind Mockingjay - Part 1's $55.1 million first day last year -- it's still a healthy figure for the end of what has been a strong run by an unexpected blockbuster franchise. Last year's penultimate film showed off somewhat stronger legs than initially expected, and the same will probably happen for Part 2. Early word of mouth is solid with an 81 percent Flixster score (comparable to its predecessor's 83 percent). BoxOffice is projecting a $100 million opening weekend.
Spectre slipped down to second place to begin its third weekend of release, pulling $4.28 million for a 58 percent drop from last Friday. The 24th James Bond film's 15-day domestic total now stands at $143.4 million, putting it 10 percent ahead of the pace of Quantum of Solace and 28 percent behind Skyfall. BoxOffice projects a $14.4 million frame.
In third place, The Peanuts Movie slid 48 percent from last Friday to $2.92 million yesterday. With $89.1 million in the bank through 15 days, the well-received animated adaptation is pacing 17 percent behind Wreck-It Ralph. Look for a third weekend around $12.6 million.
Debuting in fourth place, The Night Before unfortunately came in below expectations with a $3.56 million opening day. By comparison, 50/50 (which was also helmed by Jonathan Levine and co-starred Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) opened to $2.89 million on opening day back in September 2011. The raunchy R-rated Christmas comedy obviously came in far behind the initial performance of This Is the End as well, but the good news is that with the holidays right around the corner it's possible legs could still save the day for the $25 million film. Early word of mouth is positive with a 75 percent Flixster score -- not far behind the 80 percent of Neighbors one day after release -- and an "A-" CinemaScore. BoxOffice is projecting a $10.5 million opening weekend.
Filling out the top five, Secret In Their Eyes debuted with $2.31 million yesterday. That's unfortunately 44 percent below the opening day of STX's first release back in August, The Gift ($4.12 million). With a 52 percent Flixster score, it's likely the film will have a short theatrical run as the holiday market will become increasingly competitive next week. BoxOffice is projecting a $7 million opening weekend.
Expanding into a broader limited release, Spotlight took in $1.02 million from 598 locations on Friday for a $1,708 per-screen average. That brings the strongly reviewed film up to $3.3 million domestically so far as it continues to build momentum heading into awards season. BoxOffice is projecting a $3.4 million weekend.
Debuting in platform release this weekend were two star-driven titles. Carol pulled an excellent $78,491 from 4 locations (a robust $19,623 average) and should net around $235,000 this weekend; meanwhile, Legend took in $29,000 from 4 locations (a $7,250 average) and looks to claim $85,000 over the three-day weekend.
Follow BoxOffice on Sunday for updated weekend estimates from the studios.