As expected, Lionsgates’ “The Hunger Games” held onto the top spot at the box office in spectacular fashion this weekend, as the blockbuster film grossed an estimated $61.1 million, down a relatively modest 60% considering its record opening. The sci-fi actioner rocketed past the $200-million mark on Friday– in eight days–and the domestic cume through the weekend is an impressive $251.3 million – reaching the $250-million level faster than any other non-sequel. (See Top Ten Box Office Chart below.)
Internationally the “Hunger Games” has taken in around $113.9 million – combining for a worldwide cume of stunning $364.9 million. “Hunger Games” also hit another unique note in boxoffice history this weekend as it was the top movie, the top-selling book, and the top-selling album.
Overall, it was another up weekend at the boxoffice in North America with an estimated total of $154 million, marking a stout 23% improvement on last year’s $124.7 million. As a result of the high number of up weekends in 2012 so far, the estimated year-to-date total stands ahead of last year at this time by a solid 20%.
In the second spot was Warner Bros.’ “Wrath Of The Titans” with an estimated $34.2 million, a lukewarm debut considering it’s estimated $150-million budget and the $61.2 million opening of “Clash of the Titans.” IMAX contributed a solid $4.7 million from 292 locations to the opening this weekend.
“We knew this was going to be a tough weekend,” said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution for Warner Bros., referring to both “Hunger Games” and the NCAA basketball tournament finals. “But we had a good solid opening. We hoped to get some playability and positive word-of-mouth in order to set up a strong second weekend. We’re going to get there, we’re just going to get there in a different way.”
Fellman noted that “Clash” opened on Good Friday, when 82% of kids were out of school, while this past Friday the Spring Break had not yet begun. Only starting Monday will 31%of kids will be out of school; this coming Good Friday that number will jump to 82%.
“Clash” made most of its epic $493.2 million boxoffice gross internationally, with $163.2 million domestic and $330 million foreign, and “Wrath” will most likely do the same. With an international cume of roughly $112.2 million so far, the estimated worldwide cume for “Wrath” is close to $150 million.
The production budget on “Clash” was $125 million, a little less than “Wrath,” but that was two years ago and with nearly $500 million in worldwide boxoffice receipts the first time out, the budget increase looks modest. On the other hand, many moviegoers felt burnt by the first flick, which earned scathing reviews for the film and its shoddy retroactive 3-D.
This time, Jonathan Liebesman directed the PG-13 rated fantasy-actioner and returning stars Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Sam Worthington along with newcomer Rosamund Pike. The audience skewed 66% male, while “Wrath” picked up a B+ CinemaScore; those under 25 years of age – 45% of the audience – gave it an A-. Only 24% of critics gave the film a positive grade, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Relativity’s $85-million “Mirror Mirror” arrived in the third slot with an estimated $19 million, which was in line with projections but not the tentpole starring Julia Roberts that Relativity was looking for. (Relativity noted that their actual exposure was only $30 million after credits, tax incentives and foreign pre-sales.)
The family-friendly PG-rated film was directed by Tarsem Singh (Relativity’s “The Immortals”) and also starred Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, and Sean Bean.
“Mirror” scored a B+ CinemaScore overall, but those under 18 years of age gave it an A (females) and A- (males), which could bode well in the weeks ahead. With schools beginning to let out for the Easter break starting on Monday, business for “Mirror” should benefit as there is no direct competition for the family audience until April 13, when “Three Stooges” hits theaters. Critics were kinder to “Mirror” than to “Wrath,” which registered at 50% on the Tomatometer.
The Weinstein Company’s much talked-about documentary “Bully” went out unrated in five locations this weekend, and grossed an estimated $115,000, marking a strong $23,000 per theater average and a solid start for the film.
And CBS Films’ “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” jumped into the seventh slot with an estimated $1.27 million as the well-regarded drama added 82 locations this weekend, bringing the total to around $3.17 million.