A little over a month ago, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 brought the series to an interesting, if not completely satisfying, close – both in terms of story and box office returns. At least, that’s what it seemed to look like with all of the ensuing attention given to films like Spectre, and more recently Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But if you look a little closer to the grosses, you’ll see that Katniss Everdeen is still going out in style.
Deadline has the recent totals for the fourth installment of the blockbuster YA franchise, and the film has just reached $600 million mark, with international grosses accounted for. With a budget of $160 million, the Francis Lawrence directed hit seems to be extremely solvent. Even without the marketing budget factored in, a film like Mockingjay – Part 2 wouldn’t possibly run up as many advertising costs as a film like Spectre, so that $600 million is something Lionsgate should be smiling about.
When thinking in a more comparative state of mind, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 might come off as somewhat of a disappointment. In its current state, this year’s entry into the dystopian saga looks to be the lowest grossing one of the lot. The highest would be 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which brought in $865 million worldwide when all was said and done. But even on its worst day, The Hunger Games franchise has outperformed the likes of such similarly aimed films as both entries in the Divergent saga, which has only brought in $297 million with its annual offering, The Divergent Saga: Insurgent. So while this final film may not be making franchise history, it’s certainly setting the pace that the competition will want to keep up with.
The success of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 has not only proven that not all YA franchises are created equally, but that Lionsgate really latched onto something special back in 2012. Taking a moderately budgeted risk on trying to capture the magic that Harry Potter and Twilight had both held onto throughout their tenures at the box-office, the studio ran the risk of becoming yet another non-starter in the same vein as The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. But as Katniss slowly became more like the revolutionary the people wanted her to be, the series became more of a box office hit worthy of the history books.
It’s going to be weird not having a Hunger Games film to look forward to, but if Lionsgate has their way, we’ll be heading back in time to see how things got as screwed up as they did in the world once ruled by President Snow. In the meantime, the book is closed on the adventures of Katniss Everdeen, and all that’s left is memories and a franchise haul of almost $3 billion and growing. From where we’re standing, that’s pretty damned impressive, leaving us with one burning question: who’s going to be the next Hunger Games at the box office?