Friday Box Office: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 Claims Highest Debut of 2014 with $55 Million

     November 22, 2014

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Those who have been paying attention to 2014’s box office coverage know that there have been two regular refrains over the past eleven months: “Wow, this year kind of blows,” followed by, “But wait until Mockingjay hits!”  In a year that offered more misses than hits, it seemed like a safe bet that the penultimate chapter of the wildly successful The Hunger Games series would provide at least one weekend of hyperbolic box office goodness.  Huge crowds on opening night, maybe even a record or two?  So color me confused to have to say that, after all that buildup, Mockingjay – Part 1 is not the box office savior many of us were expecting.  At least not yet.

Full story after the jump

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-final-posterAccording to studio estimates, The Hunger Games 3 earned an estimated $55 million on its first full day in theatres, including $17 million from Thursday p.m. previews.  That’s by far the biggest opening day of 2014, beating the $41.8 million of July’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.  That’s the good news.  The not-so-good news is that Mockingjay – Part 1’s debut pales in comparison to the openings of the last two Hunger Games films.

Catching Fire brought in $70.9 million on its first Friday last year, including $25 million from Thursday previews.  The Hunger Games claimed $67.2 million on its opening day, including $19.2 million from midnight screenings alone.  Considering that Mockingjay 1 opened in many locations at 8 p.m. on Thursday, you would expect to see that number rise.

Mockingjay—Part 1 was projected to open with at least $150 million this weekend.  That would have put it right in line with its predecessors, which both set monthly box office records for their respective debuts.  The Hunger Games claimed $152.5 million in March 2012 while Catching Fire earned $158 million on this same weekend last year.  Factoring in its Friday estimate, Mockingjay 1 could come in as low as $130 million through Sunday.  That will still mark the biggest debut since Catching Fire and will crush 2014’s current record of $100 million, set by Transformers 4. It’s just… well, we were expecting a bit more.

Lionsgate also split the last installment of The Twilight Saga into two parts and, on this same weekend in 2011, Breaking Dawn Part 1 opened with $138.1 million.  Earlier this year it seemed inconceivable that Mockingjay –Part 1 could wind up below that figure but, then again, 2014 would take a weird turn if the box office suddenly started to do what people expected.

Here’s Friday’s top-heavy top five chart.  Check back tomorrow for complete box office coverage.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Mockingjay – Part 1 $55,000,000 $55
2.  Big Hero 6 $4,484,000 $120.1
3.  Dumb and Dumber To $4,300,000 $47.9
4.  Interstellar $4,220,000 $109.8
5.  Gone Girl $800,000 $154.8

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