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Hollywood’s Pre-Thanksgiving Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Reigns Supreme

by Chloe Baker
4 comments
Hollywood box office

In its opening weekend, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” secured the top spot at the North American box office, grossing $44 million, as reported by studios on Sunday.

The weekend preceding Thanksgiving saw a flurry of activity at movie theaters. Despite a range of options, not all releases experienced success. Among the offerings were the significantly declined second-week performance of “The Marvels,” and the wide releases of family-oriented “Trolls World Tour,” Taika Waititi’s comedic “Next Goal Wins,” and the R-rated horror, “Thanksgiving.”

“The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” represents a pivotal moment for the “Hunger Games” series, which has been inactive for eight years, as it ventures into a new phase. Earning $44 million from 3,776 venues, including 1,610 premium-format screens, the film registered the lowest opening for a “Hunger Games” title. The previous films, starring Jennifer Lawrence, each debuted with over $100 million, peaking with $158 million in 2013 and the lowest being $102.7 million in 2015.

Lionsgate’s strategy differs from traditional studios, as it relies on international distributors to license its titles, which significantly contributes to covering the production budget. The film’s production, budgeted at approximately $100 million, benefited from tax incentives provided by filming in Germany.

With an additional $54.5 million from 87 international territories, the movie’s global earnings have reached $98.5 million. The studio is optimistic about this start for the prequel, which unfolds 64 years before Katniss Everdeen’s story, featuring Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler in lead roles.

The film received mixed reviews, currently holding a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It stands out for its focus on the origins of Panem’s future President Coriolanus Snow.

The prequel gained a promotional edge by securing its cast for marketing efforts prior to the conclusion of the SAG-AFTRA strike, an advantage not shared by other studios post-strike.

In its North American debut, “Trolls Band Together,” the third installment in the animated series, landed in second place with an estimated $30.6 million, including profits from early sneak previews starting November 4. Having premiered internationally earlier, it is on track to surpass $100 million worldwide this weekend.

This Universal and DreamWorks Animation jukebox musical, featuring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, and a notable (asterisk)NSYNC reunion, holds a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite this, it received an A CinemaScore from its young audience.

“The Marvels” continues to underperform, witnessing a 78% drop in its second North American weekend, earning only $10.2 million across 4,030 locations. Its international earnings added $19.5 million, bringing the global total to $161.3 million.

Close behind was Eli Roth’s R-rated horror “Thanksgiving,” earning an estimated $10.2 million across 3,204 locations. Set in Plymouth, Massachusetts, following a Black Friday incident, the film stars Patrick Dempsey and Addison Rae. TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group anticipate attracting college students during their holiday break.

Walt Disney Co.’s Searchlight Pictures also faced challenges with “Next Goal Wins,” a soccer movie starring Michael Fassbender, which grossed $2.5 million from 2,240 locations in its opening weekend. Directed by Taika Waititi and based on a true story, the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to lukewarm critical reception. Disney is also set to release the animated fairy tale musical “Wish” next weekend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood box office

How did “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” perform in its opening weekend?

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” led the North American box office in its debut weekend, earning $44 million. This marks a new phase for the previously dormant “Hunger Games” franchise, with the film recording the lowest opening figures for the series.

What other movies were released alongside “The Hunger Games” prequel?

Alongside “The Hunger Games” prequel, audiences had a variety of choices including “The Marvels,” “Trolls World Tour,” Taika Waititi’s “Next Goal Wins,” and the R-rated “Thanksgiving.” However, not all these films achieved significant success.

What is unique about Lionsgate’s strategy with “The Hunger Games” prequel?

Lionsgate employs a distinct approach by licensing its titles to international distributors, which helps cover a significant portion of the film’s budget. This strategy, combined with filming in Germany to avail of tax credits, helped manage the production budget of approximately $100 million.

What was the critical reception of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”?

The film received mixed reviews, currently holding a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It focuses on the origins of Panem’s future President Coriolanus Snow and represents a pivotal moment for the “Hunger Games” series.

How did other films perform during the same weekend?

“Trolls Band Together” ranked second in its North American debut, while “The Marvels” experienced a significant drop in its second weekend. The R-rated “Thanksgiving” and Disney’s “Next Goal Wins” had modest openings, reflecting varied audience responses and market competition.

More about Hollywood box office

  • Box Office Report: Hunger Games Prequel
  • Hollywood Box Office Trends
  • Lionsgate Strategy and Film Budgeting
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: The Hunger Games Prequel
  • Animated Film Performance: Trolls World Tour
  • The Marvels Box Office Drop
  • Thanksgiving Movie Opening
  • Next Goal Wins: Disney’s Soccer Movie

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4 comments

Dave M November 19, 2023 - 10:57 pm

wow, didnt expect the hunger games prequel to do so bad compared to the older movies, thought it’d be a big hit!

Reply
Markus78 November 20, 2023 - 10:25 am

‘The Marvels’ really tanked huh? that’s a huge drop for a second weekend, wonder what went wrong there

Reply
Jenny_Loves_Films November 20, 2023 - 11:16 am

Interesting to see Trolls did pretty good, kids movies always seem to bring in the bucks, huh?

Reply
SoccerFanatic November 20, 2023 - 3:32 pm

Can’t believe Next Goal Wins did so poorly, I mean it’s got Fassbender and Waititi, what’s not to like? maybe soccer’s just not big in the US yet.

Reply

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