‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ Eyes $130 Million Plus Debut

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” is eyeing an opening of more than $130 million, according to initial tracking.

Those early projections come with a big caveat. Most of the film’s pre-release advertising has yet to hit, which should drive attendance to what is expected to be one of the year’s highest grossing films. In short, there’s room to grow.

Indeed, the initial numbers are on par with where the previous film in the series, “Catching Fire,” was at a similar point in its sales cycle. “Catching Fire” went on to gross $158 million when it opened and most analysts expect “Mockingjay – Part 1” will put up similar numbers. One thing that could cut into sales is that the picture will not be released in Imax — the wide screen format contributed 8% market share or $12.6 million to the last film’s opening weekend.

Tickets for the penultimate film in the franchise went on sale this Wednesday. Online ticketers Fandango and Movietickets.com say the film sold more first day advance tickets than any other movie in 2014 so far.

Lionsgate, which is distributing the picture, has begun some limited television advertising, but the campaign will begin ramping up in the coming weeks. It is shaping up to be the year’s biggest opening, surpassing “Transformers: Age of Extinction’s” $100 million bow.

“Mockingjay – Part 1” stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Philip Seymour Hoffman, with “Catching Fire” director Francis Lawrence returning for another stint behind the camera. It debuts on November 21, a date it has largely to itself after the Weinstein Company pushed the release of “The Imitation Game” back a week.

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