Let the games begin.
Lionsgate’s prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes slithered its way to $5.8 million Thursday previews at the domestic box office.
Tracking shows The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes opening in the $50 million range, which would be viewed as a solid start considering that it’s been more than a decade since the first Hunger Games hit the big screen and eight years after the fourth title in the core series wrapped.
The four Hunger Games films, based on Suzanne Collins’ dystopian YA novels, raked in $2.9 billion at the global box office and cemented Jennifer Lawrence’s status as one of the world’s biggest female stars. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is likewise based on Collins’ book of the same name.
Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth lead the cast of the prequel, which also stars Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman and Viola Davis. Francis Lawrence, who helmed the last four Hunger Games movies, returns in the director’s chair.
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes kicks off the Thanksgiving box office this weekend alongside Universal and Illumination’s Trolls Band Together and TriStar and Spyglass Media Group’s slasher pic Thanksgiving, directed by Eli Roth.
Trolls Band Together grossed $1.3 million in Thursday previews and is tracking to earn in the high $20 million to $30 million range. The threequel returns Anna Kendrik and Justin Timberlake in the roles of Poppy and Branch, who are now officially a couple. The movie was shepherded by returning director Walt Dohrn and producer Gina Shay.
Roth’s Thanksgiving grossed $1 million in previews.
On Nov. 22, a Wednesday, Apple Original Films and Sony’s Napoleon and Disney Animation’s Wish take a seat at the holiday table, among other offerings. It’s the first time in modern history that Illumination has gone up against a Disney Animation movie over Thanksgiving.
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