Arrogant, big-mouthed, divisive Hollywood blowhards took a massive hit at the American box office this weekend. The highly-anticipated fourth and final chapter of “The Hunger Games” should have been bullet-proof. But after star Jennifer Lawrence used the film’s publicity tour to trash Christians and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, “Mockingjay – Part 2” is under-performing in a way no box office analyst had predicted.
“The Night Before,” an R-rated comedy starring Seth Rogen, the same big-mouthed bigot who lashed out with a “F*ck you!” to Republican Ben Carson last month, is looking like an outright disaster, as is “Secret In Their Eyes,” which was supposed to be a comeback (and Oscar) vehicle for Republican-basher Julia Roberts.
Although it was released into nearly 3000 theatres and received a ton of publicity, Rogen crashed and burned with just a $10.7 million opening. To put this in the proper perspective, just last year and in nearly the same amount of theatres, “Neighbors” opened to $49 million and “This Is the End” opened to $21 million.
Julia Roberts just sucks, and has for more than a decade. And it is beyond comprehension why anyone thought that it was a good idea to team Roberts up with box office poison Nicole Kidman. In nearly 2400 theatres, “Secret In Their Eyes” was predicted to bomb with $7.5 million and did exactly that.
Let’s move on to the weekend’s real shocker.
A mere two days ago Box Office Mojo predicted the opening weekend for “Mockingjay – Part 2” would score $127.3 million. They were not alone. However, according to Deadline, the fourquel is not only way underperforming at $104 million but this is by far the worst opening of the franchise. The previous low was “Mockingjay – Part 1,” which hauled in a much healthier $122 million.
Granted, $104 million is not peanuts, but a final chapter of an iconic franchise should in no way be underperforming like this. As an example, the final Harry Potter film blew the doors off the opening weekend records held by the seven previous chapters. The fourth and final “Twilight” film was right up there.
So what happened?
If past is prologue, the entertainment media won’t say so out loud, but could it be that star Jennifer Lawrence using the “Hunger Games” publicity tour to reveal herself as a spoiled, nasty, bigoted whiner damaged her image — and by extension the film? Overnight, Lawrence seemed to go from a young, beautiful, approachable star to just another Hollywood A-list jerk.
In short, Jennifer Lawrence spent the better part of the summer making an ass of herself. During the eighth year of a brutally slow economic “recovery” that has only benefited the top one-percent (like Lawrence), the once universally-beloved superstar first ran to rape-hoaxer Lena Dunham to crybaby about sexism, while using eight-figure paychecks to wipe away the tears.
That was just the beginning of her bubble-diva implosion. At the worst possible moment, during the run up to Friday’s release of the franchise that made her a star, Lawrence arrogantly trashed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
A mere ten days before the film’s release, Lawrence went so far as to expose her anti-Christian bigotry, telling Vogue magazine that Christians are “those people holding their crucifixes, which may as well be pitchforks, thinking they’re fighting the good fight. I grew up in Kentucky. I know how they are.”
And now the profitability of “Mockingjay – Part 2” is in question. I love the way Deadline spins this sorry truth into what sounds like a positive, but that doesn’t change the underlying truth: The once sure-fire “Mockingjay – Part 2” might need ancillary markets to break even:
[I]t’s possible that the fourth film, which carries an estimated combined budget and P&A cost of $215M stateside, could profit off of theatrical just like MJ1, before Lionsgate counts TV and home entertainment dollars and costs.
Don’t be mad, Hollywood.
America is just hating you back.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC