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“Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” Tops $100M In Weekend Debut

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is showing signs of box office fatigue for the franchise, but still elbowed its way to the No. 5 spot for the year for an opening weekend with a take of $101 million at domestic theaters and $247 million worldwide.

The franchise that helped launched (or catapult) Jennifer Lawrence‘s career also notched a place in the hearts of Hollywood executives for teenage heroines in sci-fi land, which seem to be in every third trailer these days — although most of the films are big-budget disappointments. Mockingjay Part 2, however, nudged its way into first place, outselling the James Bond epic Spectre, which brought in an additional $14.6 million for the film, bring its worldwide total to date to $677.8 million.

In the third slot for the weekend: The Peanuts Movie, which hit $12.8 million in ticket sales for the weekend domestically and an additional $1.3 million in foreign box office sales. The top 10 for the weekend domestically also included The Night Before (with sales of $10.1 million); Secret In Their Eyes ($6.6 million); Love the Coopers ($3.9 million); The Martian ($3.7 million); Spotlight ($3.6 million); Bridge of Spies ($1.9 million) and Goosebumps ($1.7 million).

While no one can scoff at an debut weekend taking in $100 million, the numbers show the franchise, which has now come to an end, lost some steam along the way. The second series in the film, Catching Fire, took in $158 million in its debut weekend, while the Mockingjay Part 1 raked in $121.9 million in its first weekend.

The 4,175 theaters that ran the film averaged sales of $24,198, noted Rotten Tomatoes, calling that figure “muscular.” But in its rating review, the Web site found 70 percent of reviews were positive, which is a solid percentage, although by no means the best of the weekend. Sylvester Stallone boxing film Creed, with a limited opening, was given a 93 percent positive rating, while the documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue earned a 90 percent rating and British release The Danish Girl earned 81 percent.

The final Hunger Games film – unless there are spinoffs of some kind – allow for time to consider the impact of the franchise on Hollywood. Foremost among its influence could be the sudden arrival of Jennifer Lawrence as a bonafide star who became the second-youngest woman to win an Academy Award with her role in The Silver Lining Playbook (also 2012). It is her terrific fit as the tomboy Katniess Everdeen, however, that cemented her fame for U.S. audiences, although she quickly eclipsed that performance with The Silver Lining Playbook and her audacious role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle (2013).

Looking back, it should be clear that Lawrence’s role as Ms. Everdeen served mostly to keep her in the spotlight earlier in her career, however, it also served to further establish her credentials as a action-film heroine, as well as a talented actress for other offerings.

Secondly, it can’t be denied that Hollywood is suddenly in love with the idea of a young women in the lead for sci-fi films, who are both the skilled fighters and the ethical compass for the film. In this category, there are too many to count, frankly and, since these are, generally, the films I ignore, rather than pursue, I haven’t a list to present. Still, trailer after trailer shows striking similarities to the Hunger Games: A teenage heroine in a sci-fi about a menacing government of a dystopia. Cross reference those in an Internet search and you might get the idea.

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