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After last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, it was a foregone conclusion that it would take some time to get things back to normal. While much of the city did what they could to act as if it was business as usual as quickly as possible, the fact is that you can’t bounce back from something like that overnight. If we needed evidence to prove this fact, we now have it. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 opened in France this week, and its numbers have crashed hard when compared to the previous film.
Wednesday is the traditional opening day for movies in France and opening day numbers were down by 40% across France, and by 50% in Paris specifically, compared to what the first part of Mockingjay did a year ago. In addition to the attacks themselves causing people to stay home where they feel safe, French police action on Wednesday itself also likely led to even more people staying home, either because they weren’t sure what else might be unfolding or simply because they were watching the news in order to see what happened.
There’s one more factor that goes into The Hunger Games' low numbers. While the film’s numbers are down 50%, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the Paris box office is only down 21% in total. The discrepancy is being chalked up to the specific audience for Katniss Everdeen, young people. It looks like children are being kept home in large numbers, meaning they’re nearly entirely absent from the reported box-office figures. It’s not a surprising reaction from parents, but it’s one that has damaged this movie’s opening.
It was a big deal when all of Paris’ major theater chains reopened within a day or two of the terrorist attacks, however, just because they’re open doesn’t mean they’re full. We know all too well in the U.S. that movie theaters, as places where people gather in large numbers, can be targets for those looking to commit violence. It makes sense that some people would not rush back to theaters, and even more sense that parents would want to keep their kids away from them.
The opening for Mockingjay - Part 2 may have been rough, but analysts expect the film to recover. Spectre, whose numbers crashed over the weekend when Paris theaters were closed, has since recovered, so expect Mockingjay- Part 2 to slowly do the same as moms and dads slowly allow their kids out of the house again. The cast of the film had Paris in their thoughts at the recent Los Angeles premiere. We don’t expect young French girls have stopped thinking about Katniss, either.