Box office preview: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' is here | EW.com

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Box office preview: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' is here

HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY

(Murray Close)

The odds are definitely in The Hunger Games’ favor this weekend: The third film in the trilogy is expected to surpass the $100 million mark at this weekend’s box office, and will for sure take the No. 1 spot by a long shot.

The first two Hunger Games films proved the franchises’ ability to make big bank, with the first film making $152.5 million its first weekend and the second film, Catching Fire, grossing $158 million its opening weekend. This means this film is likely to follow in their footsteps, especially because it’s the only wide release this weekend.

Dumb and Dumber To, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar are technically its competitors, but the three films are more competitors to each other than anything. None of them should even come close to $50 million—their totals will probably all hover around $20 million.

The Theory of Everything continues its expansion this weekend, but still won’t be in enough theaters to crack the top five. As for who will make up that top five, here are our predictions.

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – $159 million
This film has a lot going for it: It’s the latest in a franchise wildly popular among both kids and adults; it stars Jennifer Lawrence, one of today’s biggest movie stars; its predecessors both had $150 million-plus opening weekends. Mockingjay should easily surpass its $140 million budget thanks to its built-in audience, and might even surpass the previous two films’ openings thanks to the always-growing hype around The Hunger Games.

2. Big Hero 6 $20.8 million
Most kids heading to the theater this weekend are probably heading there to see Katniss Everdeen kick butt in Mockingjay, so Big Hero 6  might not be the biggest priority among families. But it’s still the better choice for the younger tots who are too young for The Hunger Games—or just the people who are more interested in a colorful Disney movie than a dark action franchise. Last weekend (its second), it made $34.7 million to Dumb and Dumber To’s $36.1 million debut, showing its power even alongside new releases and proving it could have the edge over the comedy sequel this time around.

3. Dumb and Dumber To – $18 million
Dumb and Dumber To, the sequel to 1994’s Dumb and Dumber, fared surprisingly well its opening weekend—but might not be able to keep up that momentum. The people who saw the sequel last weekend were likely big fans of the original movie who have been waiting 20 years (!) for the follow-up, meaning many of them likely wasted no time in heading to theaters. But, then again, this is the only major comedy offering now in theaters, which will likely keep it in the top three.

4. Interstellar $17 million
Although Interstellar isn’t performing as well as other Christopher Nolan films, it is a movie that people keep talking about—and a movie people will keep seeing. The space flick’s weekend gross dropped 40 percent between its first and second weekends, and should continue that trend in its third.

5. Gone Girl $3 million
It’s very possible that Gone Girl could lose its spot in the top five to newer drama Beyond the Lights this weekend, but it’s very possible it won’t: The thriller has spent seven consecutive weeks in the top five and continues to be lure viewers in because of its intrigue—and because of the many people who won’t stop talking about how great it is.