Good news for fans of three-finger salutes: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was this weekend’s big box office winner—so big, in fact, that the third tale in the immensely popular YA franchise has bested the year’s previous biggest opening (that would be Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which opened with $100 million when it debuted in July), pulling in $123 million at the box office this weekend. That’s the kind of cash that could buy enough wigs to keep even Effie Trinket satisfied.
Bad news for fans of insurgent whistling: that massive opening is still down from previous Hunger Games performances. The first Hunger Games film opened to $152.5 million in 2012, and Hunger Games: Catching Fire earned $158 million when it opened last year on a similar pre-Thanksgiving release date. One possible reason why the franchise dipped? That pesky “Part 1” moniker, which may have turned off fairweather fans who didn’t want to shell out to see what was perceived as half a movie, or completists desperate to see it all in one shot. Also of note: Part 1 is the first Hunger Games movie to not open in IMAX, which may account for at least some dings against its final take. Still, the movie is a solid performer—and a good feature film at that—and its box office receipts should easily pass the $400 mark domestically, as both previous films have also done.
If you’re looking for the weekend’s second place winner, you’re going to have to squint. Perhaps invest in some binoculars. Is that it? That big white balloon thing? It is! It’s Big Hero 6, pulling up the rear with $20 million over the weekend. In its third week in release, the family-friendly Disney feature has begun creeping up on the $200 million mark, as its worldwide take now hovers around $185.2 million. The film is already number three on Box Office Mojo’s “Superhero – Comedy” charts, and should easily overtake number two Megamind ($148.4 million domestic) sometime during the upcoming holiday weekend. It may have a little bit more trouble taking down the leader, however: The Incredibles, which earned $261.4 million in domestic sales back in 2004.
As Mockingjay was the week’s sole wide opener—who would dare go against Katniss Everdeen?—the rest of the results looked spectacularly flat. A handful of indie entries debuted over the weekend in limited release, including Happy Valley, The King And The Mockingbird, Sleepwalker, and V/H/S: Viral, but as of this writing, none have reported any box office results.
A handful of features added theaters to their counts, including The Theory Of Everything, which went from 41 theaters to 140, enough to push it into the top ten with a $1.5 million take. Last week’s winner, Dumb And Dumber To, also added theaters—what, really?—ensuring that 34 new locations could enjoy its knuckle-headed charms. That didn’t stop the film from dropping, however, going from the top spot to number four, earning $13.82 million in the process. Foxcatcher also netted new theaters, bringing its total count up to 24, though even that addition couldn’t push it over $1 million, and the Oscar favorite has only made $822,000 in two weeks of limited release. Still, that was enough to give the fact-based tale the week’s second best per theater average: $19,750 per theater, still behind Mockingjay’s world domination ($29,631 per theater).
Next week: Thanksgiving, including a hearty bounty of horrible bosses and potentially worse penguins.