This has been a somewhat disappointing year at the box office as the numbers continue to sag throughout the end of 2014. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 opened this weekend, and it opened big, taking in $55 million. This is 2014's best friday haul thus far, but when compared to previous films in the franchise, this penultimate chapter in Katniss Everdeen's saga is being considered a disappointment.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 didn't manage to surpass, or even live up to, the numbers earned by The Hunger Games in 2012 or The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013. It did, however, manage to stomp on Transformers: Age of Extinction and its 2014 opening day record of $41.8 million, which the sequel earned back in July. $17 million of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1's $55 million Friday earnings came from Thursday preview screenings.
In comparison, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire brought in $70.9 million on its first Friday, opening on this same weekend in November last year. That included $25 million from Thursday previews. Kicking off the franchise in 2012, the original The Hunger Games earned $67.2 million opening in March, pulling in $19.2 million from Thursday midnight screenings.
Many believed that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was set for a $150 million opening weekend, at the very least, which would have put it in line with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which earned $158 million, and The Hunger Games, which took in $152.2 million. Now, factoring in its Friday take, box office pundits are placing the film at a series low of $130 million for its opening weekend.
Lionsgate also split its finale Twilight movie into two parts, with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opening this same weekend in November back in 2011. It earned $71 million on its opening day, and went onto take $138 million throughout its opening weekend. While many thought The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 would beat this tally, it is now looking to fall short of that. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 fared better being the finale movie in the series. Though it shared Part 1's $71 million opening day take, it eventually went on to take in $141 million during its opening weekend in November of 2012.
When The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 opens this time next year, we can expect it to have an extra added push. But by how much, we'll have to wait and see.