Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Takes in $44M, ‘The Marvels’ Crashes on Second Weekend

Lionsgate would be on fire further had Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes opened much closer to its predecessors (or, since we’re speaking about universe timelines, its follow-ups). But, this is a win for them where the latest Hunger Games film opened to a $44 million debut, giving Lionsgate another notch in its belt for revisiting IPs that folks wanted to see more of, a la John Wick 4 and Saw X (definitely not Expend4bles). On a $100 million budget, the prequel opened at $98.5 globally in its debut, a worthwhile opening regarding the IP and after a glut of other newcomers entered the fold. Mixed reviews and a B+ from CinemaScore will keep it afloat, and a bit of marketing granted did allow it to open as best can be expected. It would be shocking if this could come close to the first installment in 2012 or Mockingjay Part 2, so it’ll be safe to say this one leg to around $350 million worldwide. Given the holiday season is upon us, $400 million could be a possibility.

Trolls Band Together nabbed $30.6 million, a substantial number for the family-friendly animated work and another sign the sequel in 2020 would’ve opened as well had COVID measures not undercut its momentum. It’s already past $100 million globally on a $95 million budget, guaranteeing another success story for this series and DreamWorks animation. I guess it’s off to the races for Trolls 4, then.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Unfortunately, not all was good news this weekend: Marvel Studios seems to have finally felt the pains of another ignominious record, with the most significant second-weekend drop in the history of the MCU. The Marvels cratered 79% in its sophomore weekend, a lousy $10.2 million for the sequel to Captain Marvel (in 2019). Marvel’s $220 million budgeted tentpole has undoubtedly pointed out that superhero fatigue has caught onto all of us. What’s worse is that it may not even reach the opening weekend domestic number of $153 million its predecessor acquired. Some naysayers will claim politics swayed these numbers or the lack of marketing (due to the strikes), which can be valid reasons. But, as discussed numerous times this year, Marvel has burned through one of its last S-tier franchises, and the optimistic exploitations have brought weary numbers at the box office. Quantumania showcased blood in the water, so The Marvels was destined to sink this time. With only $161.3 globally, this will be an unabashed box office disappointment for Marvel and Disney; Bob Iger needs to recognize that less is more now, not the other way around.

In other news, newcomer Thanksgiving took in $10.2 million, and Next Goal Wins floundered with $2.5 million. The former has solid reviews and is synonymous with the namesake holiday approaching, while the latter has a less-than-stellar word of mouth.

Five Nights at Freddy’s took in $3.5 million in its fourth weekend, passing $270 million worldwide. With this statistic, it’s the highest-earning horror film of 2023 and the highest-earning movie under Blumhouse Productions. Even for a feature with lousy reviews, catering to the fans with this exciting gaming IP kept their unbridled attention. Let’s hope the sequel does something a little more flavorful regarding narrative.

The Eras Tour will pass $250 million worldwide later this week, Priscilla has passed $17 million domestically, and Killers of the Flower Moon will pass $150 million globally by next weekend.

This Wednesday (before Thanksgiving) sees the release of Wish, Napoleon, Genie, while Maestro and Leave the World Behind jump to Netflix. And Good Burger 2 will drop on Paramount+.

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