In the end, Katniss may have been too smart for her own good. Or perhaps too reliant on audiences being smart.
The final installment of “The Hunger Games” franchise, “Mockingjay — Part 2,” debuted Nov. 20 and by most standards was a smash success, earning nearly $103 million in North America over its first weekend.
But “Hunger Games” movies are held to higher standards and the earnings of “Mockingjay — Part 2” were actually down 17 percent from the $121.9 million that “Mockingjay — Part 1” earned its first weekend. The drop was so unexpected that the stock prices of some movie theater chains fell.
Now there’s no way the fifth biggest opening of the year can be called a flop, especially when it ends up earning nearly $445 million worldwide in its first 10 days. Don’t cry for Katniss. But still, the numbers are down.
And that may be at least in small part due to the fact that “Part 2” offered absolutely no hint of what had gone on before in the series, which grew exponentially more complicated over the franchise’s four films. No recap of events, no dialogue offering backstory,no titles spelling things out. Bam, the fourth movie started right where the last one left off, hope you remember everything.
Some franchises (Bond, “Mission: Impossible,” Batman, Spider-Man) use pretty much standalone stories. Others — “Star Wars,” Bourne — work the backstory to their long sagas in. The Harry Potter franchise managed to glide things together for many based on the massive success of the books.
There are other reasons “Mockingjay” may be underperforming but it should serve as a warning for the ever-expanding Marvel mythology. You might want to start the next movie with the words “Previously, in the Marvel universe …”