katniss-lawrence“Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2,” the final film in the dystopian series, was a winner at the box office, but a loser compared with previous films in the series. Although it finished No. 1, with $101 million domestically, it fell below studio projections for its debut weekend.

Film studio Lionsgate had predicted at least a $120 million opening domestically, which was considered conservative by industry watchers.

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In contrast, the next closest new film, comedy “The Night Before,” with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, earned $10.1 million, according to boxofficemojo. The film reportedly cost $23 million to make.

The top domestic grossing film title goes to 2013’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” at $158 million. But there’s nothing shabby about the final film’s take.

It grossed another $147 million overseas. It opened in most major major markets. But even there, analysts were disappointed. They were looking for $300 million worldwide against a $248 million total.

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Comparatively, “Mockingjay, Part 1” pulled in $274.9 million worldwide.

It’s hard to say why the film fared well, but not better than others. It was supposed to be the penultimate film in the series and was packed with near non-stop action. It cost a reported $200 million to make.

But the film may have been hurt by the long lead-time between movies. Part 1 was released a year ago.

Lead actress Jennifer Lawrence has gone on to appear in other high-profiled movies. That may have diffused her identity with her character, Katniss Everdeen. In turn, fans may have had a harder time relating to her in that role.

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With the news filled with headlines about deadly terrorists attacks, some movie-goers also may have decided against seeing the film because of its violence.

Even so, “Part 2” scored the fifth highest opening this year on the eve of the holiday season.

The film also scored a little higher than its predecessor among critics. Rottentomatoes, which tracks reviews, give it a 70 rating compared with a 65 rating for “Part 1.” The audience rating was higher, as well.

If Lionsgate honchos were disappointed, they weren’t showing it.

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“It’s a phenomenal opening and we launched these movies at this time consciously knowing there’d be a lucrative long run way through the holidays,” said David Spitz, Lionsgate’s domestic distribution chief in a statement.

Big name stars like Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofor didn’t do much to boost thriller “The Secret In Their Eyes.” It grossed a slim $6.6 million.

Critics panned the film. It scored a 46 rating on rottentomatoes. That adds up to a one-way trip to Bomb-ville.

The latest James Bond adventure “Spectre,” a hold-over from last week, still had enough steam to finish second at the box office with $14.6 million. So far, it’s grossed $154 million domestically.

“The Peanuts Movie,” an animated feature, finished third, with $12.8 million. It’s grossed $98.9 million domestically, according to boxofficemojo.

Ticket sales were off by 10 percent for the weekend compared with last year, according to Reuters News Service.

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