Weekend Box Office: ‘Hunger’ Strike

While the third ‘Hunger Games’ movie easily finished at the top of the box office this weekend, it didn’t perform as well as the first two installments. Nor did it come close to performing as well as expected.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1‘ closed out the three-day weekend with $123 million, making it the highest debut of 2014. At the same time, that’s quite a disappointment for the franchise. Even after accounting for the decline in Thursday night numbers, ‘Mockingjay’ was predicted to open around $148 million. Even with that prediction was down a few million from the respective $152.5 million and $158 million openings for ‘The Hunger Games‘ and ‘Catching Fire‘. The 22% franchise drop that it actually experienced is a harsh and drastic decline. Blame is being placed on the fact that the third book in the series is the least liked by fans, but I wonder if and how much of the drop was due to Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photo scandal (not that there’s any way to quantify the effect).

Overseas, ‘Mockingjay’ was actually up from ‘Catching Fire’. It debuted in all but two of the major international markets and grossed $152 million. Just like the majority of the domestic let-downs this year, foreign earnings are still up.

After slipping 42%, ‘Big Hero 6‘ landed in the #2 spot with $20 million. Seventeen days into its run, Disney’s animated superhero flick has brought in $135.7 million. The upcoming Wednesday release of ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ is expected to steal some of this movie’s thunder, but since ‘Penguins’ is based on a TV series, I wonder how many parents will want to pay for their kids to see something they can get for free on television?

In its third weekend, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar‘ suffered its biggest decline so far with a 47% hit, which actually isn’t too bad. The additional $15.1 million put the film in third place and pushed its domestic run up to $120.6 million. Without any big event movies opening for a few weeks, IMAX is still working in its favor. Internationally, ‘Interstellar’ has pulled in $329 million, pushing it well on its way to the half-billion mark.

Last weekend’s top movie, ‘Dumb and Dumber To‘, had a major 62% drop-off. It tanked from first to fourth place with a disappointing $13.8 million sophomore weekend. After ten days, the comedy sequel has grossed $57.4 million.

Rounding out the Top 5 once again was eight-week-old ‘Gone Girl‘. Its $2.8 million weekend pushed the film’s domestic run up to $156.8 million. David Fincher’s thriller has also earned $170.9 million overseas.

Weekend estimates have yet to be announced for limited releases ‘Happy Valley’ or ‘V/H/S: Viral’.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’ (Lionsgate) – $123,000,000

2. ‘Big Hero 6’ (Buena Vista) – $20,086,000

3. ‘Interstellar’ (Paramount) – $15,100,000

4. ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ (Universal) – $13,820,000

5. ‘Gone Girl’ (Fox) – $2,815,000

6. ‘Beyond the Lights’ (Relativity) – $2,630,000

7. ‘St. Vincent’ (Weinstein) – $2,354,000

8. ‘Fury’ (Sony) – $1,900,000

9. ‘Birdman’ (Fox Searchlight) – $1,855,000

10. ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Focus) – $1,500,000


  1. I doubt the low box office had anything to do with JLaw’s nude photos…probably more to do with the fact that there’s some better competition at the box office right now…namely people catching up with Big Hero 6 and Interstellar. For myself, I avoided the movie just because I’m waiting for the crowds to die down.

    • Drew

      I actually think Luke may be on to something. A lot of prudish Americans look at Jennifer in a totally different way. I don’t agree with them, and I don’t think that the nude photo leaks were her fault, at all. However, I know at least three people who will not go see this in the theatre, because they hate Miss Lawrence, now.

          • Chris B

            In your first comment you insinuated people hate Jennifer Lawrence because they blame her for having nude photos leaked, I was just looking for clarification to make sure I wasn’t mistaken.

            At any rate, I’m glad you disagree with those people. It seems rather strange for someone to have a crime commited against them and then blame the victim.

          • I believe the rationale is that J.Law must be a slutty tramp for having taken the photos in the first place. Which is clearly an asinine argument to make.

            Maybe I’m just not tuned into the pop culture, but I hadn’t really noticed any huge backlash against Lawrence, just a small handful of sexist dipshits behaving like jerks and embarrassing themselves.

          • William Henley

            Well, I have heard people blame rape victims for the way they dress. Failure to employ good judgement does not justify someone committing a crime against you. I mean, playing devil’s advocate, I guess you could argue that if they nad of exercised better judgement (in this case, not taking nude selfies, or whatever it is), then the crime couldn’t have been committed, but that is kind of stupid. I mean, yes, it couldn’t have been committed if she hadn’t of taken the photos in the first place, but there is also an expectation of privacy, which was violated.

            In the whole story in the first place, I wonder how targeted this attack was? Did the criminal know these specific people’s icloud account information, or was it a general attack against icloud? If it is the latter, he/she has the contents of many people’s phones of all ages, so in addition to being charged with this, could also be charged with the posession of child pornography. So this is could go from being a couple of dozen criminal charges to hundreds of thousands if not millions of charges filed against them, one for each person victimized.

            I think I am going to stop on this topic though. While the post kind of begat this conversation, it is kind of off topic.

            Back on topic, I think there are several factors at play here. The movie did not have IMAX showings. Maybe some people are bored of the franchise. It opened the weekend before a holiday weekend rather than on the holiday weekend. It was the least liked of the books. And there are other big movies that are still pretty recent showing at the theaters. I seriously doubt the nude photos had anything to do with this.

    • Mike Attebery

      Wait a minute, so Jennifer Lawrence is a human being who acts like a human being and does things other humans do in real life?! Disgusting! Boycott!

      • C.C. 95

        My hope is that after so many YA movies, people realize that adapting dystopian pamphlets written by teenagers isn’t really the best meat in a cinema stew. But that’s just crazy talk!

        • William Henley

          Wait, movies are supposed to be about meat? I thought they were about making money for studio execs, which YA does well. I mean, look at Twilight – just buy a franchise, hire a couple of meh actors, change directors every movie, and give them a low budget to work with. Movie makes a bazillion bucks. Buy new solid-gold Cadillac.

  2. “Iwonder how many parents will want to pay for their kids to see something they can get for free on television”

    Didn’t stop ‘The Simpsons’ from making half a billion dollars 😉

        • C.C. 95

          My favorite is- movies made from musicals made from movies! (The Producers, Hairspray, The Birdcage). Going to well too many times on stuff these days.
          Maybe I over-geek on movies like INTERSTELLAR or BIRDMAN because my Cinephile brain automatically awards points for the fact that they were ORIGINAL material! (Not remake, not sequel, not tv adaptation, not comic). Written Directly for The Screen may be a lost art! (Yeah, I know it’s not…but this year made it FEEL that way).

          • Ian

            It was very rare to see the “Written by” credit in movies under the old Hollywood studio system. However, a lot of what was adapted were insubstantial and/or obscure plays and short stories, so the movies weren’t seen as being derivative offshoots.

            Casablanca, for instance, has never been recognized as being a mere offshoot of the play it’s based on.

            Basically, in the old days the *obscurity* of the source material was for the benefit of the movie, these days it depends on *popularity* of the material.

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