As predicted last week, The Hunger Games made it four weeks in a row at the North American box office, a feat that hasn't been reached in some time. While it's starting to lose its legs, a $20 million fourth weekend was enough to keep it at the top of the charts, having amassed an amazing $335 million dollar total.
The Farrelly Brothers' family friendly The Three Stooges landed in second place with $17 million dollars for the weekend. No one was quite sure where this one was going to end up. Studio analysts had it projected to end up anywhere between $13 - $20 million. While it's not the most impressive debut, the film's intentionally low budget ($30 million) means this one is on its way to profitability. This has to be considered a win for a property that has been bouncing around the lower level of development hell for years.
The Joss Whedon-written and Drew Goddard-directed The Cabin in the Woods cleared $15 million in its first weekend. It's unfortunate, because the film is a brilliant and darkly funny riff on horror films and deserves to find an audience. However, the more cerebral elements of the film are going to bury it. The word of mouth on this one is going to be harsh. Not because it's bad, but because it requires audiences to think and there will be a lot of people who won't get it. That never bodes well for horror films. I'm a fan of Whedon, but sometimes his work is a little too smart for its own good. Personally, I think it's a masterpiece, but in terms of mainstream marketing, it's an uphill battle. I'm expecting a big drop in week two.
Titanic 3D has been a relatively quiet affair. Last week I questioned the studio logic behind these 3D re-releases which seem to sputter and fail rather quickly here in the States. However, the international numbers on the film have been astronomical. Even though America might not seem to have an appetite for these converted classics, the rest of the world does. The overseas numbers are gigantic and should end up bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars for 20th Century Fox. In North America, it made another $12 million dollars for a grand total of $45 million.
American Reunion had an average second week, earning $10.5 million for the latest film in the franchise which has already plummeted to the number five spot and barely cracked $40 million total in its second week. Meanwhile the Guy Pearce action vehicle Lockout debuted with a dull thud. barely cracking the top 10 with $6 million in ticket sales. Why they didn't hold this one until later this year after Prometheus is beyond me. Lockout seemed like an ideal end of summer, late August film, which would have benefited from the big budget marketing push of the Ridley Scott Alien prequel and ridden the Guy Pearce publicity into a much more favorable opening.
In other news, The Raid: Redemption had a solid limited opening: $2.5 million from just under 900 screens. The latest internet cult sensation has been basking in the warm glow of strong word of mouth. Also, Wrath of the Titans is officially a dud, with a $70 million total in its third week. $100 million is well out of reach. Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White gets to $50 million which means it isn't the potential embarrassment many were expecting, and at $120 million 21 Jump Street is on track to pass Channing Tatum's other big hit this year, The Vow ($124 million).
The next few weeks are a hodge podge of hard-to-market movies that will struggle to find one film strong enough to take the top spot. Next weekend brings American audiences the latest Nicholas Sparks predictable romantic drama The Lucky One and the ensemble urban comedy Think Like a Man. It seems like Hollywood is clearing a path for The Avengers which should dropkick every other movie in cinemas when it drops on May 4th.
Here's your top films for North America...
1. The Hunger Games
Weekend Estimate: $20 million; $335 million total
2. The Three Stooges
Weekend Estimate: $17 million
3. The Cabin in the Woods
Weekend Estimate: $15 million
4. Titanic 3D
Weekend Estimate: $11 million; $44 million total
5. American Reunion
Weekend Estimate: $10.5 million; $40 million total