Weekend Report: Four-in-a-Row for 'The Hunger Games'
by Ray Subers
The Hunger Games
April 15, 2012
Male moviegoers were split between the three new releases this weekend, which allowed the female-skewing Hunger Games to take the top spot at the box office for the fourth-consecutive frame. Among the new movies, The Three Stooges fared best, though The Cabin in the Woods also had a decent showing. Lockout, on the other hand, didn't even reach the modest levels of other recent Luc Besson productions. Without any breakout opener, the Top 12's combined $106.7 million gross was off nine percent from the same weekend last year.
The Hunger Games eased 36 percent to $21.1 million, which is its best hold so far. It's the first movie to take the top spot for four weekends in a row since Avatar achieved this feat in January 2010. The Hunger Games currently ranks 22nd on the all-time domestic chart with $336.7 million, and it should have no problem ending its run with over $370 million.
The Three Stooges took second place with just over $17 million. That's off from most major TV adaptations, including 60s adaptations Get Smart ($38.7 million) and Bewitched ($20.1 million). It did open three times higher than The Honeymooners, though, and it wasn't far behind big-budget disappointment Land of the Lost ($18.8 million). It was also The Farrelly Brothers' best debut in over a decade, and third-highest ever behind Me, Myself and Irene ($24.2 million) and Shallow Hal ($22.5 million).
While the Stooges slapstick humor has been incredibly influential in modern comedy (look no further than the Farrelly Brothers' Dumb and Dumber for evidence of this), the movie's decision to bring the characters in to modern day (and in color, no less) gave the initial batch of advertising an oddly anachronistic feel. To counter this, recent marketing seemed to embrace the absurdity of the whole thing, and a handful of commercials framed the Stooges antics with some kind of other humorous premise. A prescription drug parody for "Stoogesta" was a noteworthy one, and a recommendation that women send their men to the movies while they spend a day at the spa was also a stand-out. Oddly, though, women didn't outright reject the movie, and instead made up 42 percent of the audience. The crowd was also on the young end (52 percent under the age of 25), and the audiences members under 18 years of age awarded the movie an "A" CinemaScore (that dropped to a "B-" across all age groups).
The Cabin in the Woods opened in third place with $14.7 million. That pales in comparison to some of distributor Lionsgate's non-supernatural horror movies (most of the Saw series, My Bloody Valentine 3-D, and the first Hostel movie), though in general it isn't a terrible start. In fact, among horror comedies, The Cabin in the Woods's debut ranks seventh all time behind the four Scary Movie flicks, Ghostbusters II and Zombieland.
The audience was 57 percent male and 65 percent over the age of 25, and they gave the movie an awful "C" CinemaScore. That score, along with the modest opening, is indicative of the challenges associated with selling satire (which Cabin in the Woods most definitely qualifies as). The title and stock characters (the jock, his girlfriend, the geek, the stoner, and the virgin) are intentionally generic, and from a cursory glance it would appear that the movie isn't even trying to be original. That probably kept the movie from reaching a larger audience, though the group that did show up was predominantly expecting a straightforward horror movie. By delivering something much different, the movie delighted a small group of audience members while generally frustrating those whose expectations were subverted. Moviegoers like to know what they are in for when they go to see a movie, and when it turns out to be something different the movie tends to get punished in exit polling.
Titanic 3D took fourth place with $11.9 million, which is a light 31 percent decline from last weekend. That's a better hold than that of all recent 3D re-releases except The Lion King (27 percent drop). Through 12 days in theaters, Titanic 3D has earned $44.7 million to bring the movie's overall total to $645.5 million.
American Reunion rounded out the Top Five with $10.5 million. Its 51 percent drop was slightly better than that of American Pie 2 (53 percent) and American Wedding (54 percent), though its $39.7 million total is way off from the $87.3 million and $65.2 million, respectively, that those movies had earned through the same point. It's now a foregone conclusion that American Reunion will be the first American Pie movie to fall short of $100 million at the domestic box office.
All the way down in ninth place, Lockout opened to $6.23 million. That's off from all recent Luc Besson productions including Colombiana ($10.4 million), From Paris with Love ($8.2 million) and Transporter 3 ($12.1 million). The audience was overwhelmingly male (65 percent), and it was split evenly between those older and younger than 25.
The Raid: Redemption expanded nationwide to 881 locations but only managed to gross $961,454. That translates to a terrible per-theater average of $1,091, indicating that the movie might not remain at the nationwide level for very long. So far, the Indonesian action thriller has grossed $2.53 million.