'Hunger Games'
Lionsgate 'Hunger Games'

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).