Box Office: 'Mockingjay' Nabs $275M Globally But Hits Franchise Low in U.S.

Conversely, the penultimate installment breaks records overseas; awards contender 'Theory of Everything' rockets into top 10, while 'Interstellar' approaches $450 million worldwide

Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 blasted past Transformers: Age of Extinction to post the top opening of the year domestically, but trailed the first two installments in the YA franchise by a hefty margin.

Mockingjay grossed $123 million from 4,151 locations, down 22 percent from the $158.1 million debut of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire a year ago and 19 percent from the $152.5 million launch of The Hunger Games in March 2012.

Still, it's no slouch, and stands as the No. 15 opening of all time, not accounting for inflation. And Hunger Games has become the first franchise in Hollywood history to have the first three installments open to $120 million or higher.

Overseas, Mockingjay outperformed the first two films, grossing $152 million, or 4 percent ahead of Catching Fire ($146 million). That puts Mockingjay's worldwide total at $275 million, one of the best showings of the year, even if it didn't match Catching Fire's tally ($294.1 million).

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Heading into the weekend, most tracking services showed Mockingjay opening to $145 million-$150 million in North America. There are several likely reasons why it didn't hit that mark, even as it easily beat the $100 million debut of Age of Extinction.

Lionsgate decided to split Suzanne Collins' final book into two films, and there is arguably less action in the first half of Mockingjay. Director Francis Lawrence shot the movies back-to-back at a reported cost of $250 million, with Mockingjay — Part 2 set to open Nov. 20, 2015.

Mockingjay — Part 1 also earned mixed reviews, and audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore, compared to an A for the previous two installments.

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And Mockingjay is the first film in the series without an Imax berth, since Imax is still carrying Interstellar. Catching Fire did $12.2 million opening weekend in Imax, while the first film pulled in more than $10 million.

In terms of demographics, Lionsgate said Mockingjay played in line with Catching Fire, with females making up 60 percent of the audience, while 52 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.

"We still have the biggest opening of the year. The last time you could say that was when we opened Catching Fire. It shows the strength of the franchise," said Lionsgate's David Spitz. "We selected this playdate because we knew we would benefit from the lucrative holiday season ahead of us. Last year, we experienced great playability all the way through Christmas, and we think it will be the same here."

The movie again stars Jennifer Lawrence opposite Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and introduces Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer to the franchise based on Collins' blockbuster YA book series.

Overseas, Mockingjay launched in 85 markets, marking the biggest day-and-date release of the year. In many major markets, the film came in 5 percent to 19 percent ahead of Catching Fire, including the U.K. ($19.9 million, up 5 percent) and Russia ($11.1 million, up 19 percent). It was also the No. 1 opening of the year in a number of key markets, including Germany ($13.7 million) and Australia ($10.1 million).

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Elsewhere in North America, Disney's animated family film Big Hero 6 came in No. 2 in its third weekend with an estimated $20.1 million for a domestic total $135.7 million. and early worldwide haul of $185.2 million.

Paramount and Warner Bros.' Interstellar approached the $450 million worldwide, grossing an estimated $15.1 million in its third outing for a North American cume of $120.7 million and global total of $449.7 million. Both Big Hero 6 and Interstellar continued to enjoy nice holds. Internationally, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar raked in another $70 million from 64 territories, pushing its foreign total to $329 million, 13 percent of ahead of Gravity and and 10 percent of Nolan's Inception.

After topping the domestic chart last weekend, Dumb and Dumber To fell a steep 62 percent in North America, grossing $13.8 million for a domestic total of $57.5 million.

In its eighth week in release, David Fincher's box-office sensation Gone Girl rounded out the top five, ending Sunday with north of $156 million domestically.

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Focus Features' Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything did impressive business as it expanded into 140 theaters in its third weekend, grossing $1.5 million to land at No. 10. The awards contender's location average was $10,714.

Here are the estimated top 10 films for the weekend of Nov. 21-23 at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Change, Cume

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, 1/4,151, Lionsgate, $123 million

2. Big Hero 6, 3/3,650, Disney, $20.1 million, -42%, $135.7 million

3. Interstellar, 3/3,415, Paramount/Warner Bros., $15.1 million, -46%, $120.7 million

4. Dumb and Dumber To, 2/3,188, Universal/Red Granite, $13.8 million, -62%, $57.5 million

5. Gone Girl, 8/1,609, Fox/New Regency, $2.8 million, -38%, $156.8 million

6. Beyond the Lights, 2/1,766, Relativity, $2.6 million, -58%, $10.1 million

7. St. Vincent, 7/1,707, The Weinstein Co., $2.4 million, -38%, $36.6 million

8. Fury, 6/1,702, Sony/QED, $1.9 million, -49%, $79.2 million

9. Birdman, 7/862, Fox Searchlight/New Regency, $1.9 million, -25%, $14.4 million

10. The Theory of Everything, 3/140, Focus Features, $1.5 million, +104%, $2.8 million

Nov. 23, 11:30 a.m. Updated with Interstellar international numbers