Box office phenomenon The Hunger Games was once again the undisputed champ this weekend, as it had little difficulty fending off unimpressive fantasy flicks Wrath of the Titans and Mirror Mirror. With that strong holdover performance, and two newcomers combining for over $50 million, the Top 12 earned $140.4 million (a 23 percent improvement over the same period last year).
The Hunger Games fell 61.6 percent to $58.55 million this weekend. That ranks as the eighth-highest second weekend ever, though it fell behind Avatar, Spider-Man and Alice in Wonderland among non-sequels. Still, that drop was lighter than the decline for any of the Twilight movies that opened on a Friday including the first one, which lost 62.2 percent in its second weekend.
The sci-fi book adaptation will pass $250 million on Monday, which will make it the seventh-fastest movie to ever reach that milestone (first among non-sequels). Through just 10 days in theaters, The Hunger Games has earned $248.5 million, and it could be on track for a final tally around $350 million.
Wrath of the Titans debuted in second place with $33.5 million. That's a little over half as much as Clash of the Titans made on its opening weekend two years ago ($61.2 million), though there was fair reason to expect such a steep drop-off. Clash may have earned a ton of money, but two years later it's widely considered a misfire of epic proportions (it has a terrible 5.8 rating on IMDb, where users are fairly lenient on fantasy fare). The sequel's marketing essentially promised more of the same, with the main differences being the length of star Sam Worthington's hair and the substitution of a random fire monster in place of the more recognizable Kraken. Not surprisingly, that wasn't enough to get moviegoers to forget about Clash and to get excited about another trip to Ancient Greece.
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures is reporting that the audience was 66 percent male and 55 percent over the age of 25, and they awarded the movie a decent "B+" CinemaScore. 3D presentations accounted for 65 percent of the gross; included within that figure is $4.7 million from IMAX (or 14 percent of the weekend tally).
2012's first Snow White movie Mirror Mirror opened to $18.1 million from 3,603 theaters. That's a bit off from Bridge to Terabithia ($22.6 million) and The Spiderwick Chronicles ($19 million), though it's only half of Hop's $37.5 million debut on the same pre-Easter weekend last year. The movie did at least crush past similarly-timed family movies Nim's Island ($13.2 million) and The Last Mimzy ($10 million), but that's not exactly a resounding endorsement.
Mirror Mirror's slight underperformance can be attributed at least in part to a challenging release date. While the movie is geared toward 6-12 year-old girls and their parents, that's not a huge market segment. To really break out, it needed to reach a broader segment of women (teenagers and 20-somethings), and those moviegoers are still buying up tickets en masse for The Hunger Games. The movie could at least be in for a solid multiple, though, considering nearly all children are getting some time off this week for the Easter holiday and there's nothing targeting the same group until at least Chimpanzee on April 20 (The Three Stooges is also rated PG, but it's hard to imagine young girls getting worked up over it).
Relativity reports that 60 percent of the audience was families with children 12-and-under, and 74 percent of those children were girls. Ethnically, the audience break-down was 52 percent Caucasian and 20 percent Hispanic, and they gave the movie a "B+" CinemaScore.
21 Jump Street dipped just 28 percent to $14.8 million this weekend. So far, the TV adaptation has earned an impressive $92.9 million, and it's on its way to crossing $100 million sometime next weekend.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax rounded out the Top Five with $7.8 million. Remarkably, it only fell 41 percent from last weekend despite facing direct competition from Mirror Mirror. So far, the Illumination Entertainment production has grossed $189.3 million, and it will likely pass $200 million by the end of Easter weekend.
John Carter plummeted 60 percent to just over $2 million, and has now made a paltry $66.2 million at the domestic box office. Unfortunately, international has slowed down substantially as well, and the mega-budget sci-fi epic will likely wind up grossing less than $300 million worldwide.
After three weeks in very limited release, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen expanded to 483 locations and took seventh place with $1.27 million. The movie has now made $3.17 million, and distributor CBS Films does have plans to roll it out to more markets in coming weeks.
Controversial documentary Bully opened to $116,472 from five theaters for a solid $23,294 per-theater average. That's a fine figure, but it's going to take a lot more than that for the movie's box office grosses to live up to the ridiculous amount of coverage it's received over the past month.