“…my man, my man, what’s this thing with all these numbers?.”
–Chris Tucker (The Fifth Element)

April 15th, 2012

Another week of hungry audiences, as Lionsgate’s hit takes a fourth number one frame (a feat nobody’s pulled off since Avatar). Neither new major release really broke out, though you can kind of consider it a win that neither outright flopped either. Both were risky propositions and leftovers on one level or another, and both have Lockout to compare themselves to and sigh with relief.

1. The Hunger Games ($21.5 million)

[Total: $337 million | WW: $531m | Budget: $78m]

What’s there to say at this point? The female audience holds well, the rabid audience repeats, and the older/curious audience trickles in post-insanity. These are all factors that help a film like this hold strongly, and here the film has already manage to taper off its drops- it lost a mere 35% between this weekend and last. $400m is too far off on the horizon to be a real possibility, but it’s primed to cross $350 next weekend and anything after is yummy, delicious, Prius-buying cake.

The film has kept in the new lately too- since this financial success has been a backdrop for negotiations with director Gary Ross, who has packed his bags and left, claiming too tight of a mandated schedule. Sure thing buddy.


2. The Three Stooges ($17 million)

[Total: $17 million | WW: N/A | Budget: $30m]

Stooges managed the best non-Hunger opening this week, but even with a PG rating and the known-quantity source material, it did so only by a few million. Still, this is a very solid opening for a Farrelly Brothers film, and the budget wasn’t so exorbitant that it can’t even out and make some cash on video and overseas. It could even hold okay if “it’s not as shitty as you’d think!” narrative builds up around it.

From the start I thought this film looked like a very passionate, sincere version of a comedy I just simply don’t care to see, though I couldn’t help but chuckle at a few tight gags in the trailer. It’s not a popular film to be open-minded about in the geek world (this weekend especially), but a few critics have gone out on various limbs saying it’s a good time. That’s enough for me to give it a shot because, ya know, I like movies and stuff.



3. The Cabin In The Woods ($15 million)

[Total: $15 million | WW: N/A | Budget: N/A]

¬†Ah, the big geek elephant in the room. I’m sure every horror nerd was crossing their fingers for a more solid debut, but come on- this is almost a miracle. The damn thing sat on the shelf for two years, it’s a meta-text horror flick, and they sold it on a pack of (boring) lies. Had everyone from the filmmakers to the blogosphere not had a giant, completely unnecessary spoiler rod shoved up their ass, they might have even pulled in some more dough! The film telegraphs its premise less than 10 minutes into the film, and anything else you could spoil is merely the same kind of natural plot progression as any other good film has. Seriously, the whole “just trust me, it’s awesome” line doesn’t trot well with consumers, especially when you’re asking for faith on what — at the surface — looks like a tired slasher.

So I’d consider this a win. Surely the budget has been so mixed up in MGM debt and cross-studio deals that even modest horror success is good news. It’s not like Whedon needs the heat, and Goddard gets mad street cred with zero financial blame. We get this great movie forever, the people behind it will make more, everybody wins.


4. Titanic 3D ($11.5 million)

[Total: $44 million | WW: $191m | Budget: $18m …. re-release only]

So this is coming up on the tail of Beauty & The Beast to be the 2nd most successful 3D re-release (despite a 3 hour runtime), meanwhile it’s smashing records in China and bringing its overall re-release total to nearly $200m.

James Cameron simply smiles.


5. American Reunion ($11 million)

[Total: $40 million | WW: $81m | Budget: $50m]

Oh shit! Yeah, this is a movie.


The Rest…

Funny that Titanic made $58m in its debut in China (an all-time record, “3D” and “re-release” notwithstanding), as Universal has debuted Battleship overseas where it has made the same amount. Still the film is doing well across the waters, and filling the bank up before it even starts its turn in the states. This is a studio that gets it- international drives giant blockbusters now, so catering to the world market and creating the narrative of a success first is a wise move. The film hasn’t opened in China yet, so we’ll see if it can unseat Titanic (might be tough!). Regardless, it’s already going to have a serious pile of dough a month from now wen we Statesiders see it.

On the indie end of things, Sony has two weird stories on its hand as the expansion of The Raid didn’t go so hot, and it’s faithless release of CHUD favorite Detention is so small that it’s hard to even parse an understanding of how its doing. The former has seen its per-theater average drop to $1,138 after expanding to just under 900 locations. It’s made $2.57m, which is nice for a movie that’s already being remade, but it pretty much shuts the door on anymore expansion. Estimates put Detention at something like $3k a theater, but such a small release with such unusual promotions isn’t necessarily going to be easily estimated across a weekend (Sunday could be atypically strong, for example). The real indication will be if Sony decides to hold it over. Cross your fingers they do, since you need to see the fuckin’ thing…

Thanks for reading!

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Numbers (rounded off to nearest .5m) via BoxOfficeMojo