We’re on an indestructible ship. What could possibly go wrong?
For the third straight weekend, The Hunger Games dominated the box office, taking first with an estimated $33.5 million. In the process of retaining its top spot, it withstood a sex comedy covered in mothballs and a revival of a film that once was the box office champ presented in eye-popping 3-D! Or so the announcers sell in the advertisements. If it was truly eye-popping, the theaters would have a lot of cleaning up to do. So in a weekend that gave us Romeo & Juliet on the high seas and a high school reunion, the big audience turnout went to enjoying a popular pastime. No, not baseball’s opening weekend, but witnessing child against child in a fight to the death.
After three weeks, Games has become the first film of the year to cross $300 million domestically. Overseas, it has taken in $115 million to bring its global total well above $400 million. By the time it finishes its run in theaters and is ready to add to its overall earnings on DVD and Blu-ray, it should have a final tally somewhere in the ballpark of $600 to $700 million. And I did I mention it cost less than $100 million to produce. Translation: Studios will try to scoop up more YA franchises in hopes to duplicate the success of The Hunger Games. Of course, it will probably fail the same way that films like Eragon and The Golden Compass did after The Lord of the Rings.
Settling for second place was a franchise that no one really wanted to see back on the big screen aside from the original stars wanting the paycheck. American Reunion arrives thirteen years after Universal delivered the first slice of Pie. That film was a bit of a sleeper hit. With an $18.7 million opening weekend ($7 million better than its production budget) it would go on to gross $102 million domestic. The sequel was an even bigger success with $145 million. You saw the audience drop off with its last theatrical release, American Wedding, as the box office figures came back to earth with $104 million. All successful films that would go on to be a lucrative direct-to-video cash grab for the studio with Eugene Levy being the only consistent thread appearing in all four DTV Pies. Now after this last hurrah, most of the cast will go off to doing more direct-to-DVD movies, the only exceptions being Alyson Hannigan and Seann William Scott.
The revival of Titanic in 3D! opened the middle of last week to coincide with the centennial anniversary of when the ship set sail from England to New York back in 1912. Its opening should have been bigger but limitations in terms of the designated number of 3D screens and overall runtime were hard to ignore. As far as 3D revivals go The Lion King has had the best success. Considering that Titanic in its initial box office run didn’t obtain its biggest weekend until its fifth week in release, it will be interesting to see how well the nautical romance performs this upcoming week against newcomers The Three Stooges, Lockout and The Cabin in the Woods.
Wrath of the Titans got pinched in its second weekend, taking a 55% tumble in viewership. Titans won’t be able to live up to its predecessor’s success, at least domestically, so it will it depend on foreign grosses if we are to see yet another (Fill in the Blank) of the Titans. And at this point, how many mythological gods are still around? Probably not enough to field a basketball team.
Mirror Mirror, the campy Snow White tale, has held up well when matched against its competition. Close to $40 million after two weeks, it may be able to break even by the time its theatrical run has finished. If it gets a strong third weekend its success at saving face is all but assured. 21 Jump Street made it past the once-esteemed $100 million mark after four weeks, and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is nipping at $200 million domestic.
Rounding out the top ten you had Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – maybe if it sticks around until May it can get that coveted Mother’s Day audience – as well as John Carter (yep, it’s still there, even with the lowest per-screen average in the top ten) and Safe House, the Denzel Washington thriller that managed to get back into the top ten – just barely – in its ninth week of release.
Closing in on Safe House was The Raid: Redemption, that Indonesian actioneer that has been making a name for itself on the festival circuit and now in limited release. Playing on 170 screens it grabbed $565k for the weekend. Damsels In Distress, Walt Stillman’s return to motion pictures, pulled in $64k at four engagements. Bully expanded by one location, going from five to six, to earn $75k. Expect this one to get further expansion now that the MPAA has given it a PG-13 rating after some changes were made to the documentary.
Tags: 21 Jump Street, American Reunion, Bully, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, John Carter, Mirror Mirror, Safe House, The Hunger Games, The Raid: Redemption, Titanic, weekend box office, Wrath of the Titans
Source: Box Office Mojo