Christian Segers, Staff Writer
“The Hunger Games” film series came full circle last weekend with the capstone premiere of its final installment, “Mockingjay Part 2,” which led the domestic box office for the weekend.
For viewers who have waited over a year for closure following previous films’ release, it might be disappointing that “Mockingjay Part 2” does not close with the traditional happy ending that is accustomed to follow a Hollywood blockbuster. However, one should ask the question, “Is anything traditional about ‘The Hunger Games?’”
Since the franchise opened in November of 2012, the outside world has seen the masterpiece of Suzanne Collins (the author of “The Hunger Games” fictional series on which the movies are based) met with critical acclaim. The series centers around the perspective of Katniss Everdean, (played by Jennifer Lawrence) who is a citizen of the 12th district of the fictional nation of Panem. In remembrance of the civil war that devastated the nation years ago, two random “tributes” are chosen annually to compete in “The Hunger Games," a broadcasted survivalist fight to the death between 24 competitors. In the first film, Katniss volunteers to replace her sister Prim when Prim is selected to compete in the games.
Along the way, she meets Peeta, her district's fellow tribute and eventually they fall in love, despite her confessed love to Gale, a friend from home. Over the duration of the past three films, the games themselves have been defeated, only to give way to an all out war between the capital and the rebellion that it intends to crush.
“Mockingjay Part 2” immediately follows “Part 1" and reminds viewers of Peeta's attempted murder of Katniss while under the capital's brainwashing. Shortly after recovering from the near death experience, Katniss is shot, sending her into a spiraling depression during her second recovery of the film. During the course of the next two hours, the screen follows Katniss' and Peeta’s journey with a rogue band of rebels intent on taking maters into their own hands.
It is while teaming up with this band of merry men (and women) that Katniss decides to kill President Snow. However, first she will have to get past obstacles that the capital has placed surrounding the city. In a stunning turn of events towards the film’s climax, Snow is shown to be less of an enemy than the woman spearheading the rebel movement.
Without giving away any critical plot spoilers, the production team at Lionsgate Entertainment (the studio who own the rights to the film) did a phenomenal job of regrouping from the letdown of "Mockingjay Part 1" and regained the key that made the first two installments so successful: the games themselves.
Regardless of the opening weekends’ dismal domestic box office performance of an estimated $101 million, (the lowest of any of the films releases) the title continues to make headway overseas, where it is predicted to significantly amplify North American ticket sales.
Although ticket sales are generally strong indicators of how a film is received by the public, it does not reflect the general interest for the film. For example, in the week leading up to the Thursday night showings, trends for the movie dominated social media, while television advertisements continued to reel in audiences at home. With so much initial and continued interest in the film, it could potentially make a strong run during the stretch of the next several weekends.