This pre-Thanksgiving weekend, a host of new releases are offering modest support for theaters as Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents” tops the charts with an estimated $45 million opening in 3,766 theaters, while the location always gets worse for Marvel Studios’ “The Marvels.”
Before publication, the prequel to the successful series “Hunger Games” was estimated to have a starting volume of around $50 million. With a reported production budget of around $100 million, this is still a decent start for Songbirds and Snakes, but what’s perhaps more concerning is the B+ grade given by viewers on CinemaScore.
In comparison, “The Hunger Games” and its sequel “Catching Fire” received an A on CinemaScore, while the two parts of the finale “Mockingjay” received an A each. Many movies that didn’t score an A or higher this year saw larger declines in later weekends. So we’ll have to wait and see how much “Songbirds and Snakes” can keep moviegoers interested over Thanksgiving weekend.
But at least “Hunger Games” has a lower production price than the $220 million spent on “The Marvels,” which has since become a box office hit of “Flash” greats. The MCU film is expected to gross just $9 million to $10 million in its second weekend, a 79% drop from its opening franchise low of $46 million.
With an estimated 10-day domestic total of $66.3 million, “The Marvels” is 25% behind the box office pace of “The Flash.” $87.5 million after two weekends last summer.
Sitting between “Hunger Games” and “Marvels” on the charts this weekend is Universal/DreamWorks’ “Trolls Band Together,” with a $30 million opening from 3,870 theaters. This opening is on the lower end of the film’s $28-35 million projection and is below the $46 million opening of the first “Trolls” in 2016.
The good news for Trolls 3 is that families are enjoying it and giving it an A on CinemaScore, while the film’s worldwide box office has already surpassed $100 million. Both will be crucial for “Trolls” to beat major competition from Disney’s “Wish” over Thanksgiving weekend.
Speaking of “Thanksgiving,” Sony Pictures and director Eli Roth’s tongue-in-cheek slasher is aiming for a roughly $10 million opening this weekend, below projections for a mid-teens opening but potentially topping “The Marvels” exceeds, depending on how The rest of the weekend goes by in a flash. The film received a B- on CinemaScore but received surprisingly good reviews from critics with a score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.