Topping box office charts for the fourth consecutive weekend, Lionsgate’s exemplary “The Hunger Games” took in an estimated $21.5 million, advancing its cume to a stellar $337.1 million. The weekend’s three new wide releases were unable to dislodge “Games” from its perch at number one. The weekend overall was down nearly 10% from the comparable session a year ago, with the total gross for all films around $117 million. See Top Ten Box Office Chart below.
The most recent film to hold onto the number one box office position for four consecutive sessions was 20th Century Fox’s “Avatar” back in 2009. On its fourth weekend in theaters “Avatar” grossed $50.3 million and had a cume to date at that time of $430.8 million, which eventually grew to $749.8 million by the end of its theatrical run in August of 2010. “Hunger Games” is not likely to have a fifth consecutive weekend in the top spot as several strong contenders are opening next weekend, including Sony’s comedy “Think Like A Man” and Warner Bros.’ romantic drama “The Lucky One.”
Fox’s “The Three Stooges” gave “Hunger Games” the best run for its money, as the PG-rated film, based on the iconic comedy slapstick act that made Americans laugh for decades, landed in the second spot with an estimated $17.1 million, which was at the high end of expectations.
“The younger generation loved the movie: the Stooges have poked their way into a new generation of fans,” said Fox distribution evp Chris Aronson, noting that the film also worked with familes. The under-25 age group granted the film an A- CinemaScore, while the under 18 crowd gave it an A.
“The Three Stooges” delivered the directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s best opening since 2001, their third-highest opening overall. Only “Shallow Hal” ($22.5 million in 2001) starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow, and “Me, Myself and Irene” ($24.2 million in 2000) starring Jim Carrey, opened better. The Farrelly brothers’ last three films were “Hall Pass” (2011, a $13.5-million opening); “The Heartbreak Kid” (2007, $14 million); and “Fever Pitch” (2005, $12.4 million).
For this rendition of the infamous comedy triumvirate, Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos and Sean Hayes star as the Stooges in a story about how the Stooges attempt to save their childhood orphanage, stumble onto a murder plot and end up in a reality TV show.
With a $30-million production budget, the film is well on its way to profitability. As expected, the film appealed mostly to males but picked up a strong 42% female demo, but generated a B- CinemaScore. Not surprisingly, critics were not fans, voting the film a rotten 43% Tomatometer rating.
Debuting in the third spot was Lionsgates’ R-rated $41-million horror comedy “The Cabin in the Woods,” which grossed an estimated $14.9 million, landing the distrib two films in the top three this weekend. The long-delayed monster movie parody, originally produced and co-written by Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard for MGM, stars Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. Critics gave the smart horror comedy a sterling 92% favorable grade per Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were left cold, granting a disheartening C CinemaScore.
The only other film opening wide this weekend was Open Road’s “Lockout,” a sci-fi action-thriller produced by FilmDistrict for around $30 million and shot in Belgrade, Serbia. James Mather’s PG-13 rated “Lockout” took in an estimated $6.3 million to place a disappointing ninth. Guy Pearce stars as a man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S., who is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates. “Lockout” garnered a moderate B- CinemaScore overall, but a low 33% favorable grade from critics.