April 1, 2012


Surprising no one, The Hunger Games stayed in first place for a second week in a row with an estimated $61.1 million, or a decline of 60%.  Meanwhile this weekend’s new releases – Wrath of the Titans and Mirror, Mirror – had to settle for second and third, respectively. And, again, we’re back to being really, really not surprised.

Title Weekend Total
1 The Hunger Games $61,100,000 $251
2 Wrath of the Titans $34,200,000 $34.2
3 Mirror, Mirror $19,000,000 $19
4 21 Jump Street $15,000,000 $93
5 The Lorax $9,010,000 $189.5
6 John Carter $2,005,000 $66.2
7 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen $1,274,000 $3.1
8 Act of Valor $1,006,000 $67.7
9 A Thousand Words $915,000 $16.5
10 Journey 2 $835,000 $98.4

the-hunger-games-posterYou all remember last weekend right? In case you missed the pre-Hunger Games show in which box office watchers tried to predict how BIG this big release was going to get, let me refresh your memory: most of us were wrong. We knew The Hunger Games was going to be the biggest opener of the year and we knew it would be the biggest March opener ever, but the third highest debut of all-time? Within arm’s reach of The Dark Knight? Not many of us saw that coming until it was already on us, which is why the film’s box office has been all over the news and your grandma has asked to borrow your copy of The Hunger Games books.

So, one week later, how is Hunger Games holding up? The short answer is – great. You can’t argue with first place and, even if you wanted to, this weekend’s $61.1 million gross still stands as the third highest first-place total of the year (behind last weekend and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax). If there is anything less-than positive to say about week two of The Hunger Games it is that, for a cross-genre cultural phenom, the film’s sophomore drop was a bit steeper than we might have expected.  Front-loaded, I believe, is the technical term.

The Hunger Games had the highest opening ever for an original film, including non-sequels like Alice in Wonderland and The Hangover. Both of those titles experienced strong holds of -46% and -27% in their second weeks, while The Hunger Games was more on par with fanboy sequels like Iron Man 2 (-59%). On the other hand, the film’s drop was nowhere near as steep as Twilight Saga: New Moon (-70%) or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (-72%) and both of those ended up doing just fine, if I recall.

wrath-of-the-titans-movie-image-sam-worthington-3After it was announced that there would be a sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans, I was not bullish about the film’s prospects. A sequel? To the film that almost single-handedly destroyed the market for 3D movies? And without the Kraken? John Carter had a better shot at luring audiences, thought I. But then I took another look at Clash of the Titans’ grosses.  As often as you hear that film cited for its terrible… everything, you can’t argue with the numbers: $493 million worldwide, 66% coming from international markets. Suddenly, Wrath of the Titans made total sense – even if it only took in half of what its predecessor did it would be worth the effort.

And, though the film did not come close to challenging The Hunger Games for first place, with an estimated $34.2 million from 3,545 locations, it did do better than half of Clash’s $61.2 million opening weekend. On top of that, Wrath of the Titans is expected to have a huge international opening in all overseas markets so, score one for crass commercialism!

lily-collins-mirror-mirror-set-image-3If the wisdom of releasing a Clash of the Titans sequel was not immediately apparent, the choice to release TWO movies based on the Snow White fairytale in the same year was an even harder sell.  This weekend the first of those films, Relativity’s Mirror, Mirror hit theatres and fell a bit short of its modest expectations.  From 3,603 locations, the family-film earned an estimated $19 million. Mirror, Mirror reportedly cost $85 million before marketing and its reviews have not been glowing so, unless international audiences have a Julia Roberts fetish I’m not aware of, the film is set to disappoint.

Then again, there aren’t a lot of new, exciting releases coming up next weekend so a film like Mirror, Mirror could surprise us. That’s what happened this week with CBS Film’s limited release Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. A couple weeks back I mentioned that the drama had an excellent debut of $225,000 in just 18 theatres.  This week, the film’s expansion into 483 venues brought it another $1.2 million – enough to make it to number seven in this weekend’s lopsided top ten.

Overall, the box office was up over this weekend in 2011 – a trend that should carry over for another week despite the fact that there will be only one new release in American Reunion.  There will also be an additional not-so new release as Titanic sails back into theatres with an extra dimension in tow. The film doesn’t have much of a shot at reclaiming its former title of highest grossing movie of all time, but nostalgia and advertising should still be enough to get it to first place one more time.


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