LOS ANGELES — “Mockingjay – Part 2” soared to a $101 million opening in its first weekend in theaters, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.

For most films, the figure would be a coup, but the latest chapter of “The Hunger Games” had the lowest opening take among the four films in the series, which stars Jennifer Lawrence.

The series 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 next film, one-upped that with a $158.1 million debut in November 2013.

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 the same weekend last year at $121.9 million, considered at the time to be a necessary and expected dip while fans awaited the final installment, which, if it had mimicked “Twilight” or “Harry Potter,” would have snared at least the second-highest (if not highest) opening in the series.

The franchise low for the final “Hunger Games” film, which cost a reported $160 million to make, was a bit of a surprise.


Expectations run high when films become so popular and successful in such a short a time, 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,” he said.

Only 34 movies in history have opened at over $100 million, including all four in “The Hunger Games” series.

“Thanksgiving represents a good opportunity for a really strong second weekend,” Dergarabedian said of “Mockingjay – Part 2.”

He attributed this weekend’s showing to a down marketplace. Just two weekends ago, “Spectre,” which fell to second place this week with $14.6 million, failed to live up to the domestic opening of “Skyfall,” the previous James Bond film.

“The Peanuts Movie” finished third with $12.8 million, and the Seth Rogen holiday comedy “The Night Before” came in fourth with an expected $10.1 million. The R-rated film cost $25 million to produce.

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