The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two will likely not exceed the blockbuster openings of the first three installments of the hit franchise, with a $46 million Friday.
Projections were setting the film in the vicinity of $125 million domestic this weekend, but Mockingjay Part One managed just -- "just!" -- $121 million and change with a $55 million opening day. It's possible that better reviews than the last movie could drive additional interest but right now some estimates have it barely eking past $100 million for the full weekend.
Of course nothing else is going to be close. SPECTRE, which took the previous two weekends at the box office, generated $4.6 million -- that's just ten percent of The Hunger Games and, if you do the math, that means Mockingjay is on pace to outgross the rest of the top ten entirely this weekend.
The increase for Part Two of the finale over Part One was expected based on recent history: both Twilight and Harry Potter split their finales, and saw the second-to-last movie generate less than the last one. In the case of The Hunger Games, splitting the book was inevitable since the first two reshaped the cinematic landscape and there were only three books -- one of which, Mockingjay, wasn't nearly as well-reviewed as the first two. It's likely that Mockingjay -- the first half of which scored just 65% on Rotten Tomatoes -- would always have done less money than Catching Fire, which scored 89%, but splitting it into two films allowed the studio to double-dip on those fans truly invested in the series -- and obviously there are plenty of those, given the $100 million-plus openings for each of the four installments.
Even if it makes just $102 million, THR projects the final installment in the franchise will do even better globally, generating about $250 million.
Rounding out the top five at the box office were The Night Before, The Peanuts Movie and The Secret In Their Eyes, each earning between $2 and $4 million on Friday.