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The opening day of the final chapter of The Hunger Games was significantly down at the French box office, slowed not only by the terror attacks that rocked the capital city last Friday but the police action that took place Wednesday.
The Wednesday opening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 was down 50 percent in Paris from Mockingjay — Part 1 a year ago, and 40 percent across the country, according to Rentrak. Lionsgate will release official numbers Friday.
The film had 150,000 admissions Wednesday — 205,000 including Tuesday night previews — across France. In Paris and its suburbs, Mockingjay had 26,000 admissions.
Elsewhere in Europe, Mockingjay 2 is pacing well ahead of the last film in early business. Previews in Germany are up 42 percent over Mockingjay 1, which advanced tickets sales are ahead of the last film in the U.K.
All told, Mockingjay 2 is opening in 87 international markets this weekend, including China, making it the widest release of the year to date. It also debuts in North America.
Films traditionally open in France on Wednesdays, and yesterday the country awoke to a massive police action that turned a Paris suburb into a battle zone for several hours. Many people were glued to their televisions for most of the day.
Eric Marti, general manager of Rentrak France, attributes much of that loss to the film’s demographic.
“A significant part of the audience of Mockingjay is 12 to 16 years old — boys but mostly girls — and with the events taking place all day yesterday, they have probably been told to stay home,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “They’re completely missing from the numbers.”
Mockingjay had a 30 percent market share on Wednesday, but Spectre recovered significantly and the French film L’Hermine opened well.
Spectre had 19,530 admissions in Paris and its suburbs Wednesday, giving it a 22 percent market share. “It’s probably because of some kind of catch-up of people who didn’t see it last weekend. But the kids are missing,” Marti said.
L’Hermine, a romantic drama about an middle-aged judge and a juror, opened in third place with 5,780 tickets and a 12 percent market share in Paris and its suburbs and 10,580 admissions across France.
In the week following the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks that took place in January, the French box office was down 10 percent. Those attacks came on a Wednesday and a Friday and by the following week the market began to recover. This situation may take longer for the box office to recover from as the attacks hit on a Friday and the police action took place on an opening-day Wednesday.
Compared to the same day a year ago, Paris’ box office was down 21 percent.
“Considering the circumstances, it’s not a bad result. It’s less than what we expected, but it’s not that bad. It’s just a low result in a low market,” said Marti.
“If we take Spectre and L’Hermine as an indicator, [the market]’s recovering. If we take Hunger Games, it’s still in shock and people aren’t going to the movies.”
The week’s colder weather may be a factor in driving people to theaters this weekend, he added.
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