More than three years after the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise kicked off, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 brings this beloved story to a close, arriving in theaters this weekend. While we'll have to wait until Sunday to see how this epic finale fared at the box office, Deadline reports that it's already off to a good start, taking in $16 million during Thursday preview screenings. The tally is just $1 million shy of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1's $17 million Thursday take from last year.
This $16 million figure brings The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2's worldwide total to $43 million. The finale is currently the #1 movie in 66 of the 68 global markets it's opened in, as it launches in 19 additional territories starting today. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is set to open in 4,175 North American movie theaters today, and over 33,000 theaters worldwide. Last year's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 pulled in $55.1 million on its opening day, en route to a $121.8 million opening weekend.
Box office analysts are currently predicting an opening weekend between $115 and $120 million for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but it may still end up outgrossing its predecessor. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will get an added boost from IMAX theaters, which could impact the box office since The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 didn't open in IMAX last year. The budget for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has been estimated at $160 million, roughly 14% higher than The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 ($125 million) and 23% higher than The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($130 million).
2012's The Hunger Games opened with a monstrous $67.2 million opening day, en route to $152.5 million in its first weekend in theaters and $408 million domestic. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still the highest-grossing entry in the series so far, with a $70.9 million opening day, $158 million opening weekend and $424.6 million domestic take. Last year's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 didn't fare nearly as well as its predecessors, with a $55.1 million opening day, $121.8 million opening weekend and $337.1 million domestic take.
It's possible that the lower grosses for last year's sequel could be attributed to the trendy approach of splitting the last novel a franchise is based on into two movies, which many fans have criticized. While this will be the last movie based on Suzanne Collins' novels, it may not be the last we've seen of Katniss Everdeen. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer revealed in a February conference call that the studio is actively developing prequel and sequel ideas, and franchise star Josh Hutcherson even hinted in July that something is in the works, although nothing has been officially announced yet. Check back on Sunday to see how The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 fares at the box office this weekend.