The box office now belongs to “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” as it comes in with plenty of hype and expectations.
But, what makes “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” so intriguing may not have anything to do with if the movie is good or not. For Hollywood and the studios, it is all about the box office.
Sure, it helps if the movie is good and word-of-mouth matches the hype going in, but how much it makes matters more this year. As the year has not matched 2013, it needs this film to put a band aid on that. If it does, the rest of the year will be eased. Deadline noted that the overall box office is off 3.6 percent from the record year of 2013. So, “Mockingjay” can help heal that offset.
Then when the others open and the year winds down, they can put it over the top. However, let’s be honest. Last year was a record-breaker, so not equaling that or exceeding it really doesn’t look as bad as some headlines would suggest.
The latest in the “Hunger Games” saga stars an impressive cast with Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright and Stanley Tucci. The film is dedicated to Hoffman.
No other wide release debuts this weekend.
What is left for viewers to see ifs plentiful. One can look for laughs with last weekend’s champ in “Dumb and Dumber To.” One can only wonder what the percentage drop will be since a normal 50 percent fall is the norm. With that film, perhaps even higher than that.
Others can benefit from a huge film opening and it may help “Interstellar” the most. The length of both films are common, plus the latter is aimed more for the adults. So, the parents can go to “Interstellar” and let the kids go to “Hunger Games.”
“Big Hero 6” is also strong and an option, as is “Gone Girl.” The box office this weekend should be win-win all around.
What may happen with the expected numbers, which range from around $130-150 million, could be a few things.
One, the hype can backfire but not likely. Plus, part of the United States have cold weather. Upstate New York and surrounding areas have been smacked with snow. Those are attendance killers. Oh, and untimely events that pop up in the area can hurt attendance.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” opens in 3,200 theaters before expanding to 4,115 on Friday. All it has to do is open to $101 million to be the biggest of the year when “Transformers: Age of Extinction” saw a $100 million opening. Others such as “Captain America,” “Guardian off the Galaxy” and “Godzilla” all had healthy openings.