UK-Ireland box office preview: ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’ set for widest release of the series; ‘Saltburn’, ‘May December’ also open

UK-Ireland box office preview: ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’ set for widest release of the series; ‘Saltburn’, ‘May December’ also open

'The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes'

Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes is going to battle at the UK and Ireland box office this weekend in 658 locations. 

It is the widest opening for the franchise so far, ahead of previous instalment Mockingjay – Part 2 which opened in 576 sites. That title debuted on £11.3m but failed to beat the franchise record currently held by Mockingjay – Part 1, which opened in 2014 on £12.7m from 565 locations.

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes is once again directed by Francis Lawrence, who helmed all but one of the previous titles, and is set 64 years prior to the first The Hunger Games film. The prequel follows President Snow in his youth, long before he becomes a tyrannical leader, when he is tasked with mentoring a young female tribute before the games. Led by Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth, the cast also includes Viola Davis, Hunter Schafer, Peter Dinklage and Jason Schwartzman.

Also out is Emerald Fennell’s black comedy Saltburn which is releasing in 558 locations for Warner Bros. Barry Keoghan stars as an Oxford University student who gets lured into the uber-rich and extravagant world of his aristocratic classmate, played by Jacob Elordi. Fennell’s debut Promising Young Woman debuted straight on to Sky Cinema and Now streaming service in April 2021.

The cast has been on the promotion trail in the week since the SAG-AFTRA strike ended on November 9, after they could not attend the world premiere at Telluride or gala opening screening in London. Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Carey Mulligan and Screen Star of Tomorrow Archie Madekwe also star.

May December in November 

May December

Sony is opening horror title Thanksgiving in 460 cinemas. Directed by genre filmmaker Eli Roth, the film sees a Thanksgiving-inspired killer torture a Massachusetts town where the holiday tradition was invented. Patrick Dempsey and Gina Gershon are among the cast while social media star Addison Rae could prove a draw for the younger crowds.

Leading event releases this weekend is comedian Kevin Bridges’ live show The Overdue Catchup which will play in 410 cinemas on Sunday (November 19) for Piece Of Magic.

Studiocanal has Todd Haynes’ psychological thriller May December in 97 locations. Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman star in this Cannes premiere which explores the relationship between a woman, once infamous for a controversial relationship, and the young actress now portraying her in a new film.

Nigeria’s Oscar submission Mami Wata is opening in 21 sites for Aya Films. The black-and-white fantasy premiered at Sundance earlier this year before going on to screen at Munich and Fantasia.

National Geographic documentary The Mission will be out across 16 cinemas via Altitude. The film recounts a 26-year-old who was killed while attempting to make contact with one of the last isolated indigenous communities in the world. It was nominated for three Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

Conic Films has Ella Glendining’s documentary Is There Anybody Out There? in seven locations. The film explores the director’s relationship with her body and society’s abelism and has screened at several festivals including Sundance and SXSW as well as picking up two Bifa nominations.

Also in seven locations on Sunday (November 19) is the League Of Legends World Championship Final 2023, a live viewing of the online game’s competition, from Piece Of Magic. 

Other releases include the documentary Tish, releasing via Modern Films while Parkland Entertainment is opening French-language drama Driving Madeline and Kova has family musical Journey To Bethlehem. Disney’s The Marvels is the key holdover title to watch out for.

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