×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ on Track for Year’s Best Opening

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” will enjoy the biggest opening of the year, but just how big a launch it receives is a matter of dispute.

Lionsgate, the studio behind the $1.6 billion-grossing franchise, is staking out a broad range, projecting the film will do between $130 million and $150 million when it bows Friday in 4,151 locations in North America. Most analysts are being bolder and predicting the hotly anticipated sequel will pull in $150 million at a minimum, noting that the previous two chapters both eclipsed that mark. Should the film top $160 million, it will be one of the five best opening weekends of all time.

Whatever the final tally, it will trump the $100 million that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” racked up last June — the year’s previous high-water mark.

“This isn’t one of the top-tier YA series, it’s one of the top-tier series in all of filmdom,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations.

Indeed, “The Hunger Games” now breathes rarefied air. It’s a franchise on the level of “The Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars,” Batman and James Bond. Unlike other blue-chip series, it broke into the pantheon without the benefit of 3D. In the case of “Mockingjay – Part 1,” it will not get an Imax boost, something that its predecessors benefited from when they were released. Those screens are reserved for “Interstellar.”

But analysts think that the lack of premium bells and whistles and their attendant surcharges won’t dent “Mockingjay – Part 1’s” opening.

“You could release ‘The Hunger Games’ in early February and have a hit,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “It doesn’t matter where on the calendar it falls. It’s that strong.”

In addition to its U.S. opening, “Mockingjay – Part 1” will also release day-and-date in 85 international markets. That’s most of the major territories except for China, Japan and India.

“Mockingjay – Part 1” will keep chugging right through its debut weekend and into the Thanksgiving holidays. It could top box office charts for three consecutive weekends, at least until “Exodus: Gods and Kings” storms into theaters on Dec. 12.

In a sign of its expected dominance, no other major studio film will hit theaters this weekend. Among holdovers, “Interstellar” and “Big Hero 6” should be able to withstand Katniss’ arrows, looking to pull in $22 million and $17 million, respectively. Look for last weekend’s champ, “Dumb and Dumber To,” to make roughly $20 million.

“Mockingjay – Part 1” cost approximately $140 million to produce and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last completed roles before his death this year. Francis Lawrence, who oversaw “Catching Fire,” returns to the director’s chair.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Serendipity Prune Nourry

    Film Review: 'Serendipity'

    “If I could have a secret superpower, it would be to heal with my hands,” says French artist Prune Nourry in her autobiographical documentary “Serendipity.” It’s an understandable enough admission, given that she was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 31, fighting a battle against it that included undergoing a mastectomy, harvesting her eggs in advance [...]

  • Daughter-of-Rage

    Laura Baumeister Brings San Sebastian Winning Project ‘Daughter of Rage’ to Morelia

    Already backed by a four-way production partnership spanning Nicaragua, Mexico, the Netherlands and Germany, Laura Baumeister’s debut feature project “Daughter of Rage” swept three of the four prizes on offer at San Sebastian’s 8th Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum this year. Now the project heads to Morelia, where Baumeister has been with short films in the [...]

  • Brad Pitt Leonardo DiCaprio Once Upon

    China Halts Release of Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

    Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has had its upcoming China theatrical release put on hold. It was set to hit theaters in the Middle Kingdom on Oct. 25. It had received previously received its release approval from Chinese censors. But an exhibitor source told Variety that the movie has been “temporarily put [...]

  • Some Beasts

    San Sebastian New Directors Winner Jorge Riquelme on ‘Some Beasts,’ Screening at MIA

    Jorge Riquelme Serrano’s sophomore feature “Some Beasts” has impressed since sweeping Toulouse’s 35th Films in Progress in March and premiering its final version in San Sebastian’s New Directors section where it once again notched top honors. Riqeulme writes, produces – with his company Laberinto Films – directs and edits his films, so its no surprise [...]

  • Hide-and-Seek

    ZDF Enterprises Unveils New International Slate in Rome

    ROME – ZDF Enterprises is continuing its push into high-end international drama series by tapping into new territories, introducing two new projects at the MIA market on Thursday that were produced in Ukraine and the Netherlands. “Hide and Seek” (pictured), an 8 x 50’ crime noir series produced by Ukraine’s FILM.UA, and “Echoes,” a 10 x [...]

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney and Tencent to Put Out New Chinese ‘Star Wars’ Story

    Disney and China’s biggest online publisher, Tencent’s China Literature, have teamed up to develop a new Chinese “Star Wars” online novel and release 40 older e-books in Chinese for the first time. In an attempt to cultivate grass-roots enthusiasm for a franchise that has not yet managed to find a strong foothold in the world’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content