Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 started its box office run last night with an estimated $17 million, which is down from the $25 million that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire earned the same weekend last year but still the biggest of the year. The previous highest Thursday opening of the year was Guardians of the Galaxy‘s $11.2 million.
“Catching Fire” went on to open with $158.1 million its first weekend, though that opening did also include IMAX theaters. IMAX this year decided to stick with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar instead.
The first film in the series opened to $19.7 million two years ago and earned $152.5 million its first weekend without playing in IMAX.
“Mockingjay – Part 1” is expected to easily be the biggest opening of the year so far, surpassing the $100 million debut of Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Directed by Francis Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland.
Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence reprises his duties for Mockingjay, which again stars Lawrence opposite Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and introduces Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer to the series based on Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster YA book series. “Mockingjay – Part 2” will open in theaters on November 20, 2015.