Box Office: ‘The Hunger Games’ Knocks ‘Titans’ and Julia Roberts Down For a Second Weekend Victory

The overall weekend was down more than anticipated, but that didn’t stop The Hunger Games‘ swath of box office destruction. In its first, nine days of release, it’s closing in tightly to the $250m mark, a feat only three films have been able to pull off in less than 10 days. Those films are The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. These are the kinds of blockbuster films The Hunger Games now finds itself, and their ultimate totals are numbers the Lionsgate film is definitely keeping its eye on.

As it’s going, and it doesn’t look to be slowing much any time soon, The Hunger Games will find itself within the top 15 domestic grossing films of all time. Only four films have been able to make more in their first 10 days, the three listed above and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, again a massive blockbuster next of which The Hunger Games is finding itself listed. And this isn’t Warner Brothers or the latest Michael Bay movie released from Universal or even Disney. This is Lionsgate, whose walls are certainly vibrating all this month for the prolonged celebrating that is surely going on. The follow-up, Catching Fire, which will surely get some kind of a Hunger Games Episode 2 title, is already set for release on November 22, 2013, and you know the studio cannot wait for that weekend to come.

Foreign sales have been kind to The Hunger Games, as well, with an additional $113.9m added to its domestic total. It’s worldwide total now stands at $362.3m. While it isn’t making serious dollars overseas – Wrath of the Titans looks to end up pulling more from foreign markets in the long run – The Hunger Games is still resting comfortably at the top of the charts in nearly every country on the planet playing it.

Speaking of Warner Brothers, they didn’t exactly catch Zeus in a bottle twice with Wrath of the Titans. The $33.4m it pulled in this weekend isn’t a major disappointment. A lot of studios would kill – or, at the very least, post convert to 3-D – to get a $33.4m opening weekend. However, we’re talking about a film whose predecessor debuted with $61.2m. Wrath‘s opening weekend wasn’t expected to be anything groundbreaking judging by how quickly Clash of the Titan‘s domestic gross tapered off. $33.4m is still lower than expected, but considering the poor critical response, the awful taste the first film’s 3-D effects left in the collective mouth of the audience, and the fact that it looked like more of the same, it’s really a wonder it wasn’t worse.

I’m pretty sure Julia Roberts will be okay, though. Even though Mirror Mirror wasn’t even able to crack $20m this weekend, the actress won’t be looking to sell any of her many homes. It’s not like she has to pay Relativity any difference on what the film was expected to gross. Still, it’s a toss-up as to whether this stumble of an opening is a good or bad sign for the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s probably more likely it’s no sign at all. While they both begin with the same subject matter, the tones of the two films are night and day from each other, and it is Mirror Mirror‘s bubbly, kid-friendly, broad comedy tone that probably did it the biggest disservice. As long as Snow White and the Huntsman has no Nathan Lane and no dwarfs making “say hello to my little friend” jokes, it should be just fine. As long as Roberts doesn’t sign on for a sequel, she should be A-okay, as well.

On the limited release side of things, Bully, the controversial drama from The Weinstein Company, dropped onto 5 screens without a rating and ended up pulling $23,294 per. That’s not a bad start for the film, which won’t have much longevity considering how few theaters will actually run it without a rating. Goon and Intruders were two films that also got limited releases this weekend, neither of which had much steam. Goon made $1583 per theater on 31 screens, while Intruders brought in $1235 on 33 screens. The former of these has already had its VOD debut, so that was something of a factor, but neither of them have much bragging to do.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. The Hunger Games – $58.5m (-61.6%) $248.4m total
  2. Wrath of the Titans – $33.4m NEW
  3. Mirror Mirror – $18.1m NEW
  4. 21 Jump Street – $14.8m (-27.6%) $92.8m total
  5. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – $7.7m (-40.9%) $189.3m total
  6. John Carter – $2m (-60%) $66.2m total
  7. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – $1.2m (+81.1%) $3.1m total
  8. Act of Valor – $1m (-50.9%) $67.7m total
  9. A Thousand Words – $.9m (-53.7%) $16.5m total
  10. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – $.8m (-40.3%) $98.4m total

It’s no $200+m, but the $138.4m the top 10 brought in is certainly on the high end as far as March/April box office weekends go. Event movies after the fact like Valentine’s Day, Alice in Wonderland, and Fast Five have given weekends in this pre-Summer period a major edge, but it’s not such a common occurrence that we shouldn’t take notice. Even with it’s higher than expected drop, The Hunger Games’ near-$60m take these last, three days has kept the box office head well above water. At least, no one has been yelling “slump” these past, few months.

And they won’t be crying it next weekend, either. The second largest film of all time – as far as domestic gross without inflation goes, but you can’t make something sound epic with so many qualifiers – Titanic gets the 3-D retread treatment beginning on Wednesday. The Wednesday and Thursday numbers will certainly hurt its weekend haul, but it will surely have bigger re-release success than what The Phantom Menace had. Speaking of successful movies from the late ’90s, the American Pie team is returning with American Reunion, the film that wonders what people do at their 13-year, high school reunion. Chances are good they make a ton of money.

We’ll be back later in the week to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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