Last 'Hunger Games' opens to $101M, a franchise low

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2:' Playtime Is Over

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Mockingjay -- Part 2," the final "Hunger Games" film, soared to a $101 million opening in its first weekend in theaters, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. For most films this would be a coup, but "The Hunger Games" had its own records to beat, and this sets a new low for the four-film franchise.

The series starring Jennifer Lawrence kicked off with a bang in March 2012 with a massive $152.5 million weekend -- one of the highest openings of all time. "Catching Fire," the second film in the franchise, one-upped that with a $158.1 million debut in November 2013.

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Lionsgate split the final book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy into two films, following the precedent of "Twilight" and "Harry Potter."

"Mockingjay — Part 1" opened on this weekend last year to $121.9 million, considered at the time to be a necessary and expected dip, while fans awaited the final installment, which, if it mimicked "Twilight" or "Harry Potter," would have snared the second highest (if not highest) opening in the series.

With that perspective, a franchise low for the final "Hunger Games" film, which cost a reported $160 million to make, was a bit of a surprise. Lionsgate, however, is not disappointed.

"It's a great accomplishment. The overall franchise has grossed over $2 billion worldwide and counting," said David Spitz, co-president of theatrical distribution for Lionsgate. "It's a pretty phenomenal result."

"When a franchise is this popular and this successful in this short a time, expectations run very high," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for Rentrak. "If we live in a world where a $100 million opening is a disappointment, that's pretty crazy."

To date, there have been only 34 movies in history to open at over $100 million, and each film in "The Hunger Games" series has hit that massive benchmark.

Dergarabedian attributes the showing to a down marketplace. Just two weekends ago, "Spectre," which fell to second place with $14.6 million, failed to live up to "Skyfall's" domestic opening, too.

"Thanksgiving represents a good opportunity for a really strong second weekend," Dergarabedian said.

See photos of Jennifer Lawrence through the years:

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Last 'Hunger Games' opens to $101M, a franchise low
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Jennifer Lawrence seen out in Manhattan in a see through top and blazer on May 14, 2016 in New York, NY. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Jennifer Lawrence speaks onstage at the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards hosted by Ketel One Vodka at the Waldorf-Astoria on May 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ketel One)
Girl Meets Boa: #JenniferLawrence, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for Vanity Fair. Pick up the March 2015 issue for the full Spotlight.
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' - Los Angeles Premiere at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted from color to B/W). Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Premiere of Lionsgate's 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Jennifer Lawrence arrives to 'Late Show With David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on November 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK NY - NOVEMBER 13: Jennifer Lawrence sighting on November 13, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 20: Actress Jennifer Lawrence speaks onstage at ELLE's 21st Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for ELLE)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: Jennifer Lawrence attends the premiere for 'Serena' during the 58th BFI London Film Festival at Vue West End on October 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for BFI)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: Jennifer Lawrence attends the premiere for 'Serena' during the 58th BFI London Film Festival at Vue West End on October 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for BFI)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Jennifer Lawrence attends the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE REQUIRED) Jennifer Lawrence attends the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Jennifer Lawrence arrives to ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Times Square on November 13, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Jennifer Lawrence attends the World Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: (L-R) Actor Nicholas Hoult, actress Jennifer Lawrence and actor Michael Fassbender speak at the 20th Century Fox 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' panel during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: (L-R) Actors Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult speak at the 20th Century Fox panel during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
MONACO - MAY 25: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Actors Nicholas Hoult (L) and Jennifer Lawrence attend a cocktail reception during Amber Lounge Fashion Monaco 2012 at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel on May 25, 2012 in Monaco, Monaco (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Actress Jennifer Lawrence (C) and Chris Martin (background)attends the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
LOS ANGELES, CA- NOVEMBER 18: Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: (L-R) Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jena Malone attend the 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 7: Chief Executive at Dior Sidney Toledano with Actress Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior day 2 of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014, on July 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 7: Actress Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior day 2 of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014, on July 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 07: Jennifer Lawrence attends Christian Dior show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 at on July 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actresses Jennifer Lawrence (L) and Lupita Nyong'o attend the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jennifer Lawrence (R) arrive at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Director David O. Russell arrive at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actresses Jennifer Lawrence (L) and Lupita Nyong'o attend the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: (L-R) Actors Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner attend the 'American Hustle' cast photocall at Crosby Street Hotel on December 8, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Jennifer Lawrence attends the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in 'American Hustle' Jennifer Lawrence arrives on the red carpet for the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 07: Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the Christian Dior show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015. Held at Musee Rodin on July 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Rindoff/Dufour/French Select/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Actresses Jennifer Lawrence (L) and Elizabeth Banks attend the premiere of Lionsgate's 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Fan Chelsea Boyce (L) takes a Wide Angle Selfie with actress Jennifer Lawrence using the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 at the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Samsung)
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Katniss didn't have the weekend to herself, either.

The Seth Rogen holiday comedy "The Night Before" opened in fourth place, behind "The Peanuts Movie," with $10.1 million, which was within Sony's expectations. The R-rated film cost about $25 million to produce.

"This is a movie that people love. Opening early seemed like a really good prelude to the Thanksgiving weekend where it will expand beautifully," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of worldwide distribution. "It's a good start for us."

The Julia Roberts thriller "The Secret in Their Eyes," a remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian film, also debuted wide this weekend to $6.6 million from 2,392 locations — slightly under expectations.

With this weekend down 11 percent from last year, it remains to be seen whether 2015 will indeed be a record-breaking $11-billion year as many predicted at the outset. While the box office is up 4.2 percent from last year, the year to beat is 2013 and this year is tracking less than 1 percent ahead of that.

"We're in the home stretch," Dergarabedian said. "But remember, we have a little secret weapon in 'Star Wars.'"

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1."The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2," $101 million.

2."Spectre," $14.6 million.

3."The Peanuts Movie," $12.8 million.

4."The Night Before," $10.1 million.

5."The Secret in Their Eyes," $6.6 million.

6."Love the Coopers," $3.9 million.

7."The Martian," $3.7 million.

8."Spotlight," $3.6 million.

9."The 33," $2.2 million.

10."Bridge of Spies," $1.9 million.

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