‘Hunger Games’ prequel starts strong
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” topped the North American box office in its first weekend in theatres with $44 million (U.S.) in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. It was a busy weekend at the multiplex, leading into the often lucrative Thanksgiving corridor. And while there was plenty to choose from at the buffet, not everything could be a hit. Audiences had “The Marvels,” which plummeted a record 78 per cent in its second weekend, as well as the countrywide debuts of the family-friendly “Trolls World Tour,” Taika Waititi’s soccer comedy “Next Goal Wins” and the R-rated slasher “Thanksgiving” all in wide release. “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” ’s $44 million from 3,776 locations, including 1,610 premium screens, marks a low for films carrying “The Hunger Games” in the title. The four Jennifer Lawrence films all broke $100 million in their first weekends. With an added $54.5 million from 87 international markets, the film has already earned $98.5 million out of the gates. The studio considers it a strong start for the prequel, set 64 years before Katniss Everdeen entered the picture, with a new cast led by Tom Blyth and Ra- chel Zegler. “Trolls Band Together,” the third in the animated series, opened in second place with an estimated $30.6 million in its North American debut. “The Marvels” made only $10.2 million from 4,030 loca- tions in weekend two to take third place.