The odds were always in favor of “The Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” which emerged victorious in a busy weekend at the box office despite a slightly trailing opening. The expectations.
The film, which returns audiences to the dystopia of Panem for the first time in nearly a decade, grossed $44 million in 3,776 theaters in North America and $98 million worldwide in its first weekend of release. Those initial ticket sales didn’t recapture the spark of the original franchise, which propelled Jennifer Lawerence to global stardom and inspired three sequels. But they were enough to beat three fellow newcomers to the weekend, the third sequel from Universal and DreamWorks Animation.The trolls unite,” Sony’s bloody thriller “Thanksgiving” and director Taika Waititi’s sports comedy “Next Goal Wins.”
With the glut of new offerings, ticket sales for Disney’s superhero sequel “the wonders”with 79% craters until landing other ignominious record: The biggest second weekend drop (by far) in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before this weekend, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” endured the biggest drop in the franchise at 69.9%.
After getting off to the worst start in the entire MCU, “The Marvels” tied for third place with $10.2 million from 4,030 theaters, bringing its domestic tally to $65 million. The $220 million-plus budget film is the rare Marvel movie to underperform at the box office, and part of the problem is that it’s bearing the brunt of audience fatigue. towards this expanding franchise. But at this rate, it may not even match the opening weekend of its predecessor, 2019’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). end of his theatrical journey.
Although “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” had a significantly lower opening than its predecessors (each of the four “Hunger Games” installments grossed at least $100 million at the domestic box office), analysts believe that The film is well positioned in its theatrical career. It cost $100 million to produce, more than the first “Hunger Games,” but substantially less than the three sequels (2015’s final adventure cost $160 million).
“This is a very good start for an action-adventure prequel,” says David A. Gross, who runs the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “On average, prequels start with about half the release of the previous film, and this weekend’s number is close to that number.”
“West Side Story” standout Rachel Zegler and “The Gilded Age” actor Tom Blyth star in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” based on the 2020 novel by author Suzanne Collins. It is a standalone film in the $3 billion “Hunger Games” franchise, taking place six decades before Katniss Everdeen bravely offered herself as a tribute. The story centers on a young Coriolanus Snow, who later becomes the tyrannical president of dystopian Panem, as well as the tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, whom he advises in the tenth annual Hunger Games. Reviews have been mixed, with a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes and a “B+” CinemaScore. The audience was mostly young women; 65% were women and 73% were between 18 and 34 years old.
It likely benefited from a last-minute publicity push (SAG gave the film a tentative deal days before the strike ended on Nov. 9), allowing the cast, including Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage and the “Euphoria” star ” Hunter Schafer, the opportunity to promote the film before It arrived in theaters. Other recent strike-era releases, such as “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Dumb Money,” struggled without a cast of famous faces to draw attention to their films.
With the exception of “Next Target Earnings,” this weekend’s newcomers worked as counterprograms to each other and made decent earnings in this pre-Turkey Day frame. The box office will be even more crowded next weekend with the releases of Ridley Scott’s historical epic “Napoleon” and Disney’s animated musical “Wish.”
Second, “Trolls Band Together” opened on par with expectations, generating $30.6 million from 3,870 theaters to start. It’s the third-biggest opening weekend for an animated film this year, far behind the No. 1 and No. 2 spots of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($146 million) and Spider-Man: Across The Spider. -Verse ($120 million). . Those animated films, as well as “Elemental” and “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” have benefited from impressive staying power at the box office. With an “A” CinemaScore rating, “Trolls 3” could enjoy an equally long run over the next few weeks.
The family film “Trolls,” which features the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake in an *Nsync-style boy band adventure, had a lead overseas and has already grossed $76.3 million at the international box office. and 108 million dollars worldwide. . Its production cost 95 million dollars.
It’s impossible to judge the performance of the third sequel compared to the sequel, 2020’s “Trolls World Tour,” which was released simultaneously on demand while theaters were closed during the worst of the pandemic. The first film, 2016’s “Trolls,” opened with $46 million domestically and became a hit with $350 million at the global box office.
Director Eli Roth’s R-rated slasher “Thanksgiving” opened slightly behind expectations with $10.2 million from 3,204 theaters. It tied with “The Marvels,” so final placement on the box office charts will be determined Monday. The film cost only $15 million to produce, so it could still be a hit at the box office’s end. Patrick Dempsey and TikTok star Addison Rae lead the cast of “Thanksgiving,” which centers on a mysterious ax murderer who terrorizes the residents of Plymouth, Massachusetts, after a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy. It earned a “B-” CinemaScore and an astonishing 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The reviews are excellent and the movie should do well over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend,” Gross says.
Another horror film, Universal and Blumhouse’s terrifying video game adaptation “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” rounded out the top five with $3.3 million from 2,829 theaters. After four opening weekends, the modestly budgeted film has generated an impressive $132 million in North America and $271 million worldwide to date.
Waititi’s sports comedy “Next Goal Wins” flopped in its domestic debut, coming in sixth with $2.7 million in 2,240 theaters. Without positive reviews or strong audience scores (it has a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a “B+” CinemaScore), the Searchlight movie may struggle to recover during the busy holiday season. Michael Fassbender stars in “Next Goal Wins,” based on the true story of the American Samoa soccer team and the coach tasked with turning perennial losers into champions.
On the other hand, Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” fell to tenth place with $1.9 million in 1,714 theaters in its fifth release. Ticket sales for the $200 million crime epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are losing steam: $63.5 million in North America and $145.7 million worldwide.
It has been difficult to assess whether this result is good or bad for such an expensive film. That’s much less than what films starring Scorsese stars typically earn. But Apple, which backed the big-budget tentpole and hired Paramount to distribute it theatrically, doesn’t have the same success metrics compared to traditional Hollywood players. It’s banking on Oscar attention and new Apple TV+ subscribers to help justify the huge costs.
“In the end, the three-and-a-half-hour runtime was truly a box office success, and I doubt the award nominations will boost this much further.” says jeff bockExhibitor Relations analyst.