By Gabe Toro | The Playlist April 8, 2012 at 12:23PM
Consider this a matchup of brands more so than movies. "The Hunger Games" ruled the roost for the third straight weekend, the new millennial hit beating back two '90s sensations with ease, almost suggesting a passing of the torch. Young people will always like sweeping romance and bawdy sex, but for this weekend, it was all about that popular pastime of child-on-child murder.
Despite a strong second weekend drop, "The Hunger Games" leveled off in weekend three, becoming the first film this year to cross $300 million domestic. Though overseas audiences haven't been nearly as rabid for the YA adaptation (maybe too busy having sweeping romances and bawdy sex?), we could be looking at a final tally somewhere between $600-$700 million worldwide. Most films need a high-end budget to accomplish that, so you bet Hollywood is paying attention to the fact that this picture only cost around $80-$90 million.
Opening at a meek second place was "American Reunion," with the suggestion that this brand still has its fans, but should probably disappear after that one last hurrah. This opening is stronger than the first film, which was more of a sleeper hit, but it's not in the ballpark of the comparatively blockbuster first weekends of the second and third films, which grabbed $45 and $33 million each, respectively. It's not certain what bigger success would have brought this film ("American Pie 5"?) but all parties involved weren't exactly hot properties going into this, so, with the exception of Seann William Scott, expect most of them to return to direct-to-DVD movies, home shopping networks, Broadway, Off-Broadway, and, in the case of Chris Klein, karaoke.
My heart will go on, but not quite like it did two decades ago. "Titanic 3D" was expected to have a bigger opening, given that it's the ideal title for a 3D re-release, but it couldn't come close to matching the impressive haul for "The Lion King 3D" last year. It may be the runtime, of course -- it's extremely difficult for a three-hour movie to pull in hefty grosses, and for being a billion dollar movie, it's unusual that the biggest weekend "Titanic" ever had was in the neighborhood of $36 million, which surprisingly wasn't achieved until its fifth week. So it's likely worth monitoring how the mega-blockbuster does in its second weekend, though Easter should have proved to be a stronger launching pad.
"Wrath of the Titans" lost a good amount of steam, registering a steep second weekend drop similar to that of the first film. Of course, the numbers for 'Wrath' are still significantly behind the first film, with no real hope of catching up. Still, this picture came at a higher budget than its predecessor, so, while no one's in a rush to toss the dirt onto the grave, this is one brand that's seen better days. With the picture also pulling in weaker numbers overseas, it's time for Warner Bros. to re-assess. At this point, they could throw bad money out there and go for a reboot, or they can be crafty, and we could get "Clash of the Titans: The Series." Or, hopefully, considering these movies are terrible, WB will let it be.
Holding up pretty strongly after a quiet debut, "Mirror Mirror" stayed in the top five as its gross neared $40 million. As predicted, it held up quite nicely over Easter weekend compared to its competition, and should be in line for a final gross that's less successful and more of a face-saving strategy. While no one is surprised at the film's take right now, they'd really like a stronger third weekend to get this film as close to $70-$80 million as possible. The film stayed above "21 Jump Street" and "The Lorax," both still hitting strong audience numbers. The R-rated action-comedy is still registering strong numbers after passing $100 million, unquestionably a hit for Sony at a somewhat smaller cost. The Dr. Seuss animated film, meanwhile, inched even closer to $200 million domestic, that target a foregone conclusion by now.
The numbers aren't spectacular for "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" but the picture remained in the top ten for a second week, with five week grosses approaching $5 million. It's not sure what expectations CBS Films had with this title, though it's likely the picture didn't exactly meet them. At least it leapfrogged "John Carter," which again registered the lowest per-screen average in the top ten by far. Despite pulling this from as many screens as possible, 'Carter' remains in the top ten by virtue of nothing else on the marketplace. Enjoying its ninth week in the top ten was "Safe House," which lands at a solid $125 million at the ten spot.
Knocking on the door of the top ten was "The Raid: Redemption." The Indonesian actioner grabbed $565k on 170 screens and has slowly been expanding, crossing the $1 million mark in the process. It was the big winner in an indie market that saw a couple of strong debuts. "Damsels In Distress" pulled in $64k at four engagements, while "We Have A Pope" hit $31k at three locations, both strong openings for the hyped arthouse arrivals. Holdover "Bully" went from five to six locations, pulling in $75k, though it's reasonable to expect further expansion. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. The Munchies Games (Lionsgate) - $33.5 million ($303 mil.)
2. American Reunion (Universal) - $21.5 million
3. Titanic 3D (Paramount) - $17.4 million ($26 mil.)
4. Rash Of The Titans (Warner Bros.) - $15 million ($59 mil.)
5. Mirror Mirror (Relativity) - $11 million ($36 mil.)
6. 21 Jump Street (Sony) - $10.2 million ($110 mil.)
7. Dr. Seuss' Grave Tapdancing (Universal) - $5 million ($198 mil.)
8. Salmon Fishing. Yea Man (CBS) - $975k ($4.6 mil.)
9. Juan Carter (Disney) - $820k ($68 mil.)
10. Safe House Music (Universal) - $581k ($125 mil.)