Two new competitors, two more cannons fired. The Hunger Games managed to overcome the debuts of both American Reunion and Titanic 3D, winning its third weekend in a row with $33.5 million.
The sci-fi survival thriller should pass $300 million on Easter Sunday, its 17th day in theaters. It’ll tie Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith as the sixth-fastest movie to reach the milestone. (It should be noted that the only Twilight film to ever hit $300 million, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, did so in 81 days.) At its current pace, The Hunger Games is headed for a final domestic gross between $360 million and $370 million.
American Reunion debuted in second place with $21.5 million. That’d be a commendable opening for most R-rated comedies, but it’s a bit of a disappointment for the fourth entry in the American Pie franchise. The past three American movies opened to an average of $32.4 million, and the first one started out with $18.7 million in 1999 — not much less than American Reunion. Factor in inflation, and American Reunion scored the series’ smallest opening weekend by far.
Still, with no new R-rated comedies hitting theaters until The Five-Year Engagement arrives on April 27, American Reunion will have some time to stretch its legs. The $50 million movie, which earned mixed reviews, received a healthy “B+” rating from CinemaScore moviegoers. Its audience skewed a bit older, with 61 percent at least 25 years old. Interestingly, Reunion brought in an equal amount of men and women, with males representing 51 percent of the audience. As Bridesmaids proved last year and American Reunion reinforces, raunchy comedies can appeal just as much to women as they do to men.
The 3-D re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic sailed to $17.4 million. That’s a smaller debut than the three most recent 3-D reissues: The Lion King 3D ($30.2 million), Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace 3D ($22.5 million), and Beauty and the Beast 3D ($17.8 million). However, Titanic 3D arrived in theaters on Wednesday, therefore diluting its weekend figure; in five days, it has earned $25.7 million. The epic romance, which cost $18 million to convert to 3-D, was evenly split between moviegoers under 25 and over 25, and drew a crowd that was 60 percent female.
It’ll be fascinating to watch how Titanic 3D handles the box-office sea from here on out, as its performance will likely be used to judge the viability of future 3-D re-releases. The film seems headed for a final domestic tally of around $60 million, or 6 percent of what it made during its original theatrical release ($1 billion when adjusted for inflation). The Phantom Menace 3D finished its run with a nearly identical ratio of 6.5 percent, whereas the animated films Beauty and the Beast 3D and The Lion King 3D obtained 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Can future 3-D reissues of live-action films only expect to gross 6 or 7 percent of their original runs (when adjusted for inflation)? If that’s the case, you may soon find just animated movies being re-released in three dimensions.
The $150 million fantasy epic Wrath of the Titans fell 55 percent its second weekend for $15 million. That virtually duplicates the second-weekend decline of its 2010 predecessor, Clash of the Titans, which plummeted 56.5 percent. However, Clash opened much stronger than Wrath did. As a result, Clash had already summoned $110.2 million after 10 days, whereas Wrath has only earned $58.9 million. Although Warner Bros. hired writers for a third Titans entry, Wrath‘s current underperformance puts the series’ future in doubt.
In fifth place, the Snow White family film Mirror Mirror slipped a mild 39 percent for $11 million. The PG-rated movie, which has so far grossed $36.5 million, is still a long ways away from matching its $85 million budget. But at least it’s holding up fairly well — a result of there being few other family films in the market.
In limited release, the comedy Damsels in Distress — director Whit Stillman’s first movie in 14 years — opened to an okay $64,200 at four theaters. The Italian comedy We Have a Pope consecrated a mild $31,500 at three locations. And the unrated documentary Bully, which will expand next weekend with a new PG-13 rating, continued to perform moderately well. It took in $75,000 from six theaters.
1. The Hunger Games — $33.5 mil
2. American Reunion — $21.5 mil
3. Titanic 3D — $17.4 mil
4. Wrath of the Titans — $15.0 mil
5. Mirror Mirror — $11.0 mil