Lionsgate Says Star Wars Took Up to $100 Million from Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 2

Friday, 05 February 2016 - 11:52AM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.2
Friday, 05 February 2016 - 11:52AM
Lionsgate Says Star Wars Took Up to $100 Million from Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 2
Lionsgate is getting defensive about the underperformance of the highly anticipated Hunger Games finale, Mockingjay pt 2, claiming that unforeseen circumstances such as the terrorist attacks in Europe and the overperformance of Star Wars caused them to take a big financial hit.

The final installment of the Hunger Games tetralogy was projected to make approximately $165-185 million in their international opening, but ultimately took just $144.5 million, a fact which was attributed partially to the Paris terror attacks, which occurred right around the same time and may have affected consumers' moviegoing behavior, especially since the attacks happened in entertainment venues. Lionsgate CEO John Feltheimer said in a call today with Wall Street analysts (via Deadline) that competition from films like The Martian and Spectre also impacted their ability to get the movie onto as many movie theaters as they would have liked. 

Opening quote
"[It was] all sandwiched together between The Martian and Spectre and we couldn't get the screens," he said. "We were disappointed in Mockingjay's performance in the country, especially since we did their first China premiere there."
Closing quote

But no one caused a bigger splash than Star Wars, which was always projected to be a hit, but as a result of good word-of-mouth, outperformed expectations in many territories. 

Opening quote
"I think the combination of circumstances was unique between the terrorist attack in Europe and Star Wars," said Rob Friedman, Lionsgate's co-chairman of the Motion Picture Group. "[Star Wars] hit our numbers by somewhere between $50M and $100M."
Closing quote

As of January 28, Mockingjay pt 2 has grossed $651.3 million, which is not terrible per se, but was approximately $100 million less than projected, and was a disappointment considering the high production cost. It seems a little strange for Lionsgate to blame films like The Martian, which doesn't have nearly as much of a built-in fanbase, and Spectre, which doesn't have as much cultural clout outside of the West, but it's hard for any franchise to compete against Star Wars, so we'll give them that one.

They're quickly licking their wounds, however, by increasing their film slate from 13 to a whopping 17 films in 2017, all of which cost less to make and have safer profit margins than the final Hunger Games movie. They have high hopes for their 2017 roster, which includes Power Rangers, Hood, They Odyssey, Now You See Me 2, Lala Land, and Gods of Egypt.
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.2

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