A gust of wind swept underneath the wings of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 at the box office on Friday, easily enough to notch the biggest opening day at the domestic box office in 2014. In comparison to the previous Hunger Games films and third entries in other mega-franchises, Mockingjay’s first installment failed to reach cruising altitude and will go down as the lowest opening film in the franchise to-date.
Following a $17 million Thursday night debut, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 raked in an estimate $55 million on Friday to take over the top opening of the year from Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction with $41.9 million. That mark is overshadowed by the original The Hunger Games opening to $67.3 million, while its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, exploded to a $71 million opening day.
Numerous factors contributed to the tepid Mockingjay opening including snowy conditions across a large swath of the country, tepid reviews from critics, no IMAX screens, and advertising devoid of actual “Hunger Games” as that portion of the story concluded in the previous film. Given the $55 million Friday, look for Mockingjay – Part 1 to wrap its opening weekend around $125-$130 million.
Disney’s Big Hero 6 landed in second place with $4.48 million, only a 44-percent drop from the previous Friday. To date the animated hit has earned nearly $157 million and continues its march toward an inevitable date with $200 million.
The sequel Dumb and Dumber To took third on Friday with $4.3 million. Unlike Big Hero 6’s slight drop, this sequel plummeted 70-percent from a week ago and should find the fast track to Blu-ray and DVD.
Rounding out the top five Friday box office results are Christopher Nolan’s Interstallar with $4.22 million, and Gone Girl with $800,000.
Stop back tomorrow for the complete weekend box office results to see where The Hunger Games: Mockingjay ended up.