While it didn’t quite catch fire, Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I had enough of an appetite to eat up the weekend box office, providing an anemic year with its biggest debut yet at about $124m, though the pic may have left scraps on the table.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1By almost any measure, the penultimate installment of the Y.A. juggernaut was a solid victor in the derby; the Jennifer Lawrence behemoth claimed the year’s biggest opening by more than 20% over its closest rival, last summer’s Transformers 4. Its A- CinemaScore suggests it could have enough legs to join Guardians of the Galaxy as the year’s only movie to crack $300m.

But hyper marketing comes freighted with hyper expectations, and Mockingjay fell short of analysts’ projections, whose low-end forecasts began around $140m. More troubling for distributor Lionsgate Films are the inevitable comparisons the film has drawn with its ancestors, the 2012 original and first sequel Catching Fire, which bowed last year with $158m on its way to an overall cume of $424.6m.

Mockingjay also couldn’t eclipse Hunger Games, which claimed $408m on the shoulders of a $152.5m debut. With a final installment coming next year, Mockingjay‘s challenge is to bring momentum to the finale in November 2015. And check out Nancy Tartaglione‘s analysis of international box office, where Mockingjay has had no trouble soaring.

There’s reason for hope, though. In a year of solid-if-unspectacular openings that has left revenues about 3% behind last year’s, holdovers have acquitted themselves nicely. And with no other major studios willing to offer tribute against the Suzanne Collins adaptations, they feasted again.

Big Hero 6 Baymax peering downAs animated films tend to do, Disney’s mega-cartoon Big Hero 6 looks to claim second place in its third week out, thanks to rerun-loving kids who will likely give the Marvel-derived ‘toon terrific multiples.

Interstellar, too, has maintained its orbit in its third frame with a third-place finish, though Dumb and Dumber To fell around 60% to settle for fourth. And Gone Girl is the marathon champ of the season, remaining in the top five after two months in release. In limited release, Jon Stewart’s Rosewater expanded to 371 runs to crack the top 20. Brian Brooks has more on specialty box office.

The Sunday estimates, courtesy of Deadline’s Amanda Nduka:

1). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I (LGF), 4,141 theaters / $56M Fri. /$41.6M Sat. (-26%)/ $27.2M Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $124.8M/ Wk 1

2). Big Hero 6 (DIS), 3,650 theaters (-123) / $4.4M Fri. / $9.5M Sat. (+116%)/ $6.1M Sun. (-36%)/3-day cume: $20M/ Total Cume: $135.7M /Wk 3

3). Interstellar (PAR), 3,420 theaters (-141) / $4.2M Fri. /$6.8M Sat. (+62%)/ $4M Sun. (-41%) / 3-day cume: $15M / Total cume: $120.6M / Wk 3

4). Dumb and Dumber To (UNI), 3,188 theaters (+34) / $4.3M Fri./ $6.2M Sat. (+44%)/ $3.7M Sun. (-40%)/3-day cume: $14M (-61%)/ Total Cume: $57.1M /Wk 2

5). Gone Girl (FOX), 1,609 theaters (-350) / $803K Fri. /$1.3M Sat. (+62%)/ $711K Sun. (-45%)/ 3-day cume: $2.8M/ Total cume: $156.8M / Wk 8

6). Beyond the Lights (REL), 1766 theaters (-23)/ $794K Fri. /$1.2M Sat. (+51%)/ $639K Sun. (-47%)/ 3-day cume: $2.6M (-58%) / Total Cume: $10.15M /Wk 2

7). St. Vincent (TWC), 1707 theaters (-625) / $645K Fri./ $1M Sat.(+55%)/ $640K Sun. (-36%)/3-day cume: $2.28M/ Total cume: $36.55M / Wk 7

8). Fury (SONY), 1720 theaters (-662) / $540K Fri. / $848K Sat. (+36%)/ $508K Sun. (-40%)/3-day cume: $1.89M / Total cume: $79.1M / Wk 6

9). Birdman (FSL), 862 theaters (+5) / 506K Fri. /$849K Sat. (+68%)/$509K Sun. (-40%)/3-day cume: $1.86M / Total cume: $14.4M /Wk 6

10). The Theory Of Everything (FOC), 140 theaters (+99) / $398K Fri. /$672K Sat. (+69%)/$431K Sun. (-36%)/ 3-day cume: $1.5M/ Total cume: $2.8M / Wk 3