The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, the most recent addition to Francis Lawrence's catalog, was released this past weekend to decent fanfare. The penultimate episode of the franchise was able to gross a "disappointing" 123 million dollars. Not to brag or anything, but I actually guessed around this number (although I cannot prove it...). However, I had no idea just how much the last two Hunger Games films made at the box office! The previous film, Catching Fire, made 158 million over its opening! So why did audiences avoid this film? At $123 million it would be unfair to call the film a failure, but it is obviously disappointing considering:
1) Jennifer Lawrence has become even more popular than before.
2) Subsequent editions to franchises usually earn more money than previous installments
3) This is the better movie!
My guess is it is because no one actually wants to see a "Part One" of anything. Part One is usually only titled in films adapted from novels, and the problem we are about to explore is one solely owned by their ilk. See, Part One of films, much like the novels they are based on, are awful. Okay, maybe not awful but definitely not good; at best, engrossing but boring. Much like Harry Potter Part 7 Part 1, this film is full of set-up and world building but without the payoff of a final act ultimately makes it rather dull and bland for a Hollywood blockbuster. Audiences have realized this very quickly, don't waste money on unworthy, set-up films.
Oh wait... I guess I actually have to review this. Hmm... I don't actually have much to say I just wanted to propose a hypothesis that Part Ones suck. Honestly, this film was not that bad; I found it to be considerably better than the first two and it seems as though the franchise has finally found that glossy blockbuster sheen that sometimes takes a few films to rub off on a series (ie. Fast and Furious, Harry Potter). Not to say this is as good as those films, actually the biggest problem with this film is that it is not that good either. It is fine as a film, no huge glaring holes in direction or acting. But awful as a book, and I suspect the source material to have a huge hand in dragging this narrative down. However, it is also amazing as a young adult film so it is easy to overlook the fewer, but still resonant, flaws of this franchise.
In the end, I recommend this film the same as I will almost every Part One, wait until the final act to hit theaters and then watch the first one illegally torrented (or digitally bought from Amazon).