Open your movie a month before Star Wars and you’re bound to get burned. At least that’s what the executives at Lionsgate, the studio behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 said, blamed for their movie’s relatively underwhelming performance. Mockingjay - Part 2 went on to make over $600 million worldwide, but, oh well. When Star Wars makes nearly $2 billion you kind of look like small potatoes.
Per Deadline, Lionsgate’s co-chairman Rob Friedman said the final and least successful Hunger Games movie underperformed in “their profit margins by over $100M,” and elaborated by saying it failed because the subsequent release of Star Wars “hit our numbers by somewhere between $50M and $100M.”
They went on to say Friedman also placed the blame for the movie’s failure on the November 13 terror attacks in Paris. Mockingjay - Part 2 opened on November 20, 2015. It seems Friedman thinks a movie about a group of revolutionary children who previously participated in a murderous battle royale might not have been the best subject matter to help get over one of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in recent memory. Still, saying your movie didn’t take off because of terrorists is a bit insensitive, if not downright exploitative.
To add to Lionsgate’s misery, Mockingjay 2 failed to catch on in the lucrative Chinese market as well. Despite the Hunger Games series earning nearly $3 billion worldwide, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said the box office competition in China sank their movie. “Mockingjay - Part 2 was all sandwiched together between The Martian and Spectre and we couldn’t get the screens,” he said. “We were disappointed in Mockingjay’s performance in the country, especially since we did their first China premiere there.”
Because this is probably the last time we’ll ever get to do this, and because we couldn’t resist, we’ll just say: The odds were not in their favor. At least Lionsgate has John Wick 2 coming up later this year.