‘Hunger Games’ Finale Misses Box Office Bulls-Eye With $101 Million Debut

Jennifer Lawrence’s “Mockingjay – Part 2” comes in with franchise-low that is $20 million under opening of last film

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” failed to hit the lofty heights of the previous three films in the blockbuster “Hunger Games” franchise, delivering an underwhelming $101 million in its opening weekend at the box office.

With Jennifer Lawrence loosing her last arrows as freedom fighter Katniss Everdeen, the adaptation of Susan Collins’ best-selling young-adult sci-fi adventure easily displaced the James Bond film “Spectre” as No. 1 film with the fifth-best opening of 2015 for Lionsgate Entertainment.

And it blew past the weekend’s other two wide openers, Seth Rogen‘s R-rated holiday comedy “The Night Before” and the STX Entertainment thriller “Secret in Their Eyes” with Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman.

Neither film made much of a splash: Rogen’s first film since last year’s Sony hack-tainted “The Interview” opened to $10.1 million, while Roberts’ first thriller since 1993’s “The Pelican Brief” took in $6.6 million.

But the first weekend “Mockingjay – Part 2” came in nearly $20 million under last year’s “Part 1” and analysts’ projections, and roughly $50 million under the rollouts of the first “Hunger Games” ($152 million) in 2012 and “Catching Fire” ($158 million) in 2013.

The audience was 54 percent female, with half under the age of 25. So “Mockingjay – Part 2” played a little younger and a little more male than previous films in the series, suggesting the finale may have lost some of its grip on the core young adult female audience that has driven the franchise to $2.55 billion at the global box office to date.

The soft domestic opening makes the film’s foreign performance critical, and it’s off to a decent start. It opened at No. 1 in 84 of 89 markets and took in $150 million from overseas, giving it a $251 million first weekend globally. That’s strong, but under the projections of some more bullish analysts. A soft opening in France didn’t help, and the recent terror attacks in Paris may have slowed business in that part of Europe.

Rogen’s first release since last year’s “The Interview,” which was at the center of the Sony hacking scandal, didn’t make nearly as many waves. “The Night Before,” which co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, came in at the low end of analysts’ projections for the comedy.

“We would have like to have seen a little more, but this and the ‘A-‘ CinemaScore give us enough to build on because this really is a funny film and it’s something different during the holidays,” Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief, told TheWrap on Sunday.

STX is in a similar situation with “Secret in Their Eyes,” but it drew a ‘B-” CinemaScore. “This is a little under what we hoped for,” STX distribution head Kevin Grayson told TheWrap, “but we connected with our target of mature women and we think it will play well over the holiday. To really assess this film, you’ll have to look at the first 10 days.” Thirty-five percent of the audience was over the age of 35.

Sony’s “Spectre” and Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie,” which have finished in two top spots for the past two weeks, fell to second and third, taking in $14.6 million and $12.8 million, respectively. The domestic total for the 007 thriller is $151 million and its global haul is now more than $670 million for MGM and Eon Productions.

The overall market was off 13 percent from the comparable frame last year, and marked the third week in the last four that it has been down.