Global Box Office: 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Earns $10M on First Day in China

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Still 3 - H 2014
Courtesy of Lionsgate

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Still 3 - H 2014

Elsewhere, 'Jupiter Ascending' tops the foreign chart with an okay $32.5 million from 65 countries, while Disney's 'Big Hero 6' crosses the $500 million mark worldwide thanks to a victorious run in Japan.

Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 took in roughly $10 million in its opening day in China, well ahead of the last installment in the YA franchise.

Mockingjay's performance is all the more remarkable given that pirates have had nearly three months to flood the market with illegal downloads. The movie is showing on 28 percent of all screens in China, both in 2D and in a special 3D version for the China market.

Catching Fire, the previous installment in the franchise, took in nearly $30 million in China, but it suffered from having to go head-to-head with Gravity, which did twice the box office, as it benefited from the Chinese love of space travel and the inclusion of a Chinese spacecraft.

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Mockingjay opened on a Sunday, while Catching Fire had a Thursday bow, so the opening day figure isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth star in the film, which has now grossed $736 million worldwide.

The movie launched in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22 and was due to bow in China a day earlier on Nov. 21. It been okayed for a dubbed and subtitled release on more than 3,000 screens nationwide by the China Film Group and Beijing-based Talent International Film Co. The China release date was then pushed back until January as film authorities sought to balance domestic and foreign box office before the end of the year.

Overall, the big player of the weekend was The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which soaked up an outstanding $56 million from 3,641 theaters in its North American debut, giving new life to the family franchise and wresting the top spot from American Sniper.

The performance of the Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies sequel, combined with the blockbuster success of The Lego Movie on the same weekend a year ago, firmly establishes February as a home for animated fare (Lego debuted to a whopping $69.1 million). And overseas, SpongeBob is doing five times more business than the first film, grossing $26.8 million to date from 25 territories — including $11.1 million in Mexico — for an early worldwide total of $82.8 million. The film earned a B- CinemaScore from American audiences; ditto for Seventh Son.

New big-budget entry Jupiter Ascending did win the overseas race with an okay $32.5 million from 65 countries, faring best in Eastern Europe and Asia. Russia led with $4.7 million, followed by France with $2.3 million. It has yet to open in China, Japan and Australia. The sci-fi epic, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, only debuted to $19 million in North America, a problematic number considering the movie's $150 million pricetag.

After SpongeBob, another family film making headlines globally this weekend was Disney's Oscar nominee Big Hero 6, which jumped the $500 million mark, thanks to a heroic run in Japan, where it has now earned $66.7 million, and a strong debut in the U.K. The Disney Animation Studios title has earned $218.6 million domestically and $286.6 million internationally for a total $505.1 million.

Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service is rolling out internationally ahead of its Feb. 13 launch, and took in another $7.7 million from four markets over the weekend for an early foreign total of $17.7 million.

Foreign numbers weren't immediately available for Jupiter Ascending, which debuted to a problematic $19 million in the U.S.