Hunger Games Prequel Tops Other Debuts

Several films open before holiday rush
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2023 1:30 PM CST
Prequel Has Weakest Hunger Games Opening
This image released by Lionsgate shows Rachel Zegler, center, in a scene from "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes."   (Lionsgate via AP)

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes topped the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters with $44 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. It was a busy weekend at the multiplex, leading into the often-lucrative Thanksgiving corridor. And while there were plenty of films to choose from, not everything could be a hit. Audiences had The Marvels, which plummeted a record 78% in its second weekend, as well as the nationwide debuts of the family-friendly Trolls World Tour, Taika Waititi's soccer comedy Next Goal Wins, and the R-rated slasher Thanksgiving all in wide release, the AP reports.

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is an interesting case study for a franchise that's been dormant for eight years. Its $44 million from 3,776 locations marks a low for films carrying The Hunger Games in the title. The four Jennifer Lawrence films all broke $100 million in their first weekends; the high point was the first with $158 million in 2013, the low was the last one with $102.7 million in 2015. With an added $54.5 million from 87 international markets, the film has already earned $98.5 million out of the gates. However, critics were mixed on this one, which is an origin story about future Panem President Coriolanus Snow. It currently carries a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were more positive.

Below are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

  1. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, $44 million.
  2. Trolls Band Together, $30.6 million.
  3. The Marvels, $10.2 million.
  4. Thanksgiving, $10.2 million.
  5. Five Nights at Freddy's, $3.5 million.
  6. The Holdovers, $2.7 million.
  7. Next Goal Wins, $2.5 million.
  8. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, $2.4 million.
  9. Priscilla, $2.3 million.
  10. Killers of the Flower Moon, $1.9 million.
(Read more box office stories.)

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