By Gabe Toro | The Playlist April 15, 2012 at 12:09PM
The rest of the month may be comprised of releases desperate to avoid "The Avengers" and the onslaught of summer blockbusters. But few studios thought that their movies would become the meat in an 'Avengers'/"The Hunger Games" blockbuster sandwich, as the Lionsgate beast held remarkably steady in week four, suggesting that $400 million domestic may be in play after the film already crossed $500 million worldwide.
This weekend suggested that the film has quite a bit of juice left over. While brand offerings from the likes of Judd Apatow and Nicolas Sparks are set for release in the next couple of weeks, its not crazy to suggest the Gary Ross franchise-starter might run the table for the rest of the month, even if that seems incredibly far-fetched. Still, a less-than-40% drop and a $21 million gross in weekend four makes a case for "The Hunger Games" possibly being the most dominant blockbuster of the year.
While a $17 million take for "The Three Stooges" is impressive considering the lack of stars and the somewhat-dubious trailers and ad materials, it's easy to see that this was merely a case of a movie bombarding its potential audience, pitted against a host of other not-very-attractive options. 'Stooges' carried a major ad presence, earning a massive release in almost 3500 theaters, and for a first week opener, its per-screen average wasn't all too thrilling. The movie reportedly only cost Fox $30 million, but the ad budget had to also be in that general vicinity, and therein lies the reason why the Farrelly Brothers' next film is said to be a sequel to "Dumb And Dumber."
Considering "Cabin In The Woods" was left for dead by MGM two years ago, has no clear marketing hook and features no breakout stars (save for an underpublicized Chris Hemsworth), an opening in the low teens is quite respectable. The film has to be considered a misfire if it performs like the average horror film (60%+ drop), but Drew Goddard's meta-fest (greeted with a harsh 'C' Cinemascore rating) is not the average horror film. Lionsgate didn't overspend in acquiring the film, so consider this a dry run for whenever Goddard gets the call-up to the big leagues.
"Titanic 3D" stayed afloat (ha ha... ha) and managed to hold up better than any other 3D re-release since "The Lion King." 3D conversions remain relatively inexpensive (they range within $10-$15 million; "Titanic"'s reportedly cost $17 million), and this one ensures they'll continue to roll out. Though it's a safe bet none will reach the $100 million heights of "The Lion King," suggesting there's only a handful of movies with the appeal needed to justify the expense. In other words, don't hold your breath for "Krull 3D."
"American Reunion" looks like it will hold slightly better than any film in the series save for the first one. But the grosses are so much smaller that that's just the silver lining on the cloud lingering over a dead franchise. The first film generated similar numbers, but it played all throughout summer as counterprogramming, whereas this film is a "franchise picture" and is likely to be tapped out by May. It stayed above "Mirror Mirror" for the number five spot, though the latter film has held on fairly well in three weeks of release, about to eclipse $50 million domestic, with solid numbers surely to follow overseas.
And then there were the three films jousting for position near the bottom of the lineup. The newest, "Lockout," may have been the least impressive, registering pitiful numbers even in a fairly muted 2000+ theater release, which makes sense considering FilmDistrict marketed it as distinctly off-brand stuff. The final numbers could instead favor "21 Jump Street," which continues to perform strongly in its fifth weekend, valuting over $120 million domestic. Or they could lean towards the 3D-pumped release of "Wrath Of The Titans," which will finish with much less than half the domestic gross of the first film, with similar receptions in overseas territories.
Internationally, "Battleship" debuted in foreign territories well ahead of its American opening this May. $58 million earned through twenty-six separate regions, with more openings coming next week, suggests the film could cross $300 million before it even hits stateside. The picture remains a dicey proposition and it will probably need a $400-$500 million tally to break even, but it at least looks like it has a head start, and the studio seems convinced that negative word of mouth won't spread across the Atlantic. Then again, maybe something marketed to look like "Transformers 4" is impervious to word of mouth beyond, "Dat thing explodes good!" Or, rather, "cette chose explose bien!"
Again almost cracking the top ten was "The Raid: Redemption," which may have now reached its peak. The film expanded to a muscular 881 theaters, though it's take of a cool million came with a per-screen average in the neighborhood of $1k. The biggest new indie release was the limited release sequel "Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On The Seventh Day." The original film, "Woman Thou Art Loosed" (no exclamation point) opened to $2.3 million on 408 screens back in 2004 for a nearly $6k per-screen average, though the profile was noticeably lower this time around, with only 102 engagements. Its $650k showing was a similar result from a per-screen perspective. Also debuting was the PG-13 cut of "Bully," which popped up at 158 locations for $534k. So far the R and PG-13 versions of the film have combined for $813k in three weeks.
"Blue Like Jazz" had a fervent cult following in print, but at cinemas the appeal was a bit lukewarm. The film collected $281k at 136 locations, with a weak $2k per-screen. Similarly dismal was the debut of "Touchback," which collected only $75k on fifty screens, with "L!fe Happens" registering a feeble $21.9k showing at sixteen locations. The indie market featured one muscular holdover, "Damsels In Distress," which grabbed $93k at 22 locations, with a two week total of $178k. Support your local arthouse theaters, boys and girls.
1. The Game, It Hungers (Lionsgate) - $21.5 million ($337 mil.)
2. The Three Stooges (Fox) - $17.1 million
3. The Cabin In The Woods (Lionsgate) - $14.8 million
4. The Boat Sinks 3D (Paramount) - $11.6 million ($44 mil.)
5. Reunion, American-Style (Universal) - $10.7 mllion ($39.9 mil.)
6. Mirror 2X'S (Relativity) - $7 million ($49 mil.)
7. Wrath Of The Neeson (WB) - $6.9 million ($71.2 mil.)
8. Legal Age Jump Street (Sony) - $6.8 million ($120.5 mil.)
9. Space Prison Version Of Taken (FilmDistrict) - $6.2 million
10. Dr. Seuss' Continued Defilement By Unimaginative Adults (universal) - $3 million ($204.4 mil.)