‘The Hunger Games’ prequel leads pre-holiday box office with $44 million

It’s a weekend of mixed results for the box office, as Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” tops the charts with an opening weekend of $44 million from 3,776 theaters.

The prequel to the hit young adult novel trilogy was neither expected nor needed to top $100 million, as the four film adaptations of The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence did in the early 2010s; However, the film missed early projections of a $50 million opening.

With a reported budget of $100 million, “Songbirds and Snakes” could still make a modest profit from box office receipts alone before it hits domestic platforms. That depends on whether word of mouth is more reflective of the strong 91% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes – along with 61% from critics – or the lower B+ rating on CinemaScore, the lowest grade of a. The movie “The Hunger Games” deserves it.

So far this year, tentpoles that didn’t earn a grade of “A-” or higher on CinemaScore have struggled to make it through their theatrical run. Although Hunger Games fans have returned to theaters this weekend, it remains to be seen whether more casual moviegoers will be interested in purchasing a ticket this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.

Those casual moviegoers have shown that they have no interest in seeing The Marvels as the second weekend of Marvel Studios’ latest production was disastrous, grossing just $10.2 million in its second weekend. That’s a nearly 80% drop from the film’s worst $46 million opening and leaves it struggling to hold onto third place this weekend against Eli Roth’s slasher film “Thanksgiving.”

With this poor decline, “The Marvels” probably won’t even come close to the $108.1 million domestic and $270.6 million worldwide box office grosses of Warner Bros./DC’s “The Flash,” a Film that is considered one of the highest, if not the biggest, box office bust of the summer.

While other recent MCU films like “Eternals” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” have struggled, this is by far the biggest blow to Marvel Studios’ once-pristine box office record, and delays caused by this year’s Hollywood strikes will be Only at the end of July next year can the franchise try to get back on its feet with the release of “Deadpool 3”, a sequel that Marvel Studios inherited with Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox.

At No. 2 on the charts is “Trolls Band Together” from Universal/DreamWorks with an opening of $30.6 million in 3,870 theaters. While that’s below the $46.5 million opening weekend of the first “Trolls,” it’s the highest opening weekend for a DreamWorks Animation title since the pandemic began.

With a total worldwide box office of $108 million so far, “Trolls 3” should record a modest box office profit compared to its reported budget of $95 million. The question remains whether the sequel, which was well received by families with an A on CinemaScore, will be able to compete well with Disney’s “Wish” over Thanksgiving weekend and beyond.

There’s more to come…

Brian Ashcraft

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