March 2012 Easily Sets Record
With The Hunger Games and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax both significantly exceeding expectations, March 2012 easily claimed the all-time March record with over $940 million. That's an incredible 38 percent improvement over the same period last year, and it's also up 13 percent on the previous record holder (March 2010 with $832 million). Even when adjusting for inflation, March 2012 sold the second-highest number of tickets behind March 2002.

The Hunger Games was the highest-grossing movie in March with $233.3 million after just nine days in theaters. The movie accounted for around a quarter of the month's overall tally, and it ranks second all-time for March earnings behind Alice in Wonderland, which made $299.5 million in its first 27 days. Based on its currently trajectory, though, The Hunger Games should ultimately beat Alice in Wonderland's $334.2 million total to become the top movie to ever open in March.

In a not-so-distant second place, The Lorax earned an impressive $187.2 million. The movie is currently on its way to over $200 million, which will make it the first animated movie to reach that mark since 2010's Tangled. 21 Jump Street took third place with $88.9 million, and will become star Channing Tatum's second $100 million grosser over a two month period of time. Project X was also fairly successful with $53.2 million on a very modest found-footage budget.

March also had a number of disappointments, none more obvious than Disney's mega-budget epic John Carter. Based off a century-old sci-fi series and green lit with the intention of becoming the first in a multi-film franchise, John Carter grossed just $65.6 million through its first 23 days in theaters. It has fared much better overseas ($188.3 million through April 1), but that barely softened the blow to Disney's bottom line.

Aside from John Carter, there were a handful of other underperformers. Wrath of the Titans earned just $25 million over its first two days in theaters, which is a little over half of what predecessor Clash of the Titans made in its opening. A Thousand Words continued Eddie Murphy's cold-streak with a terrible $16.3 million, and Silent House was even worse with just $12.3 million. Finally, Mirror Mirror grossed $13.4 million through its first two days, which isn't an altogether impressive tally.

3D ticket sales accounted for roughly $170 million for the month, or 18 percent of total box office. That's about on par with February (17 percent), and it seems like 15-20 percent of ticket sales is going to be the new norm for 3D (though that could go higher in blockbuster-heavy Summer months).

Overall box office wound up just under $2.6 billion through the first quarter of 2012. That's up a massive 23.6 percent from the same time in 2011, though it is still off from 2010 by two percent. With an upcoming lineup that includes The Avengers (May 4), The Amazing Spider-Man (July 2), The Dark Knight Rises (July 20), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Nov. 16) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14), there's a very good chance that 2012 winds up topping 2009's record $10.6 billion overall gross.

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March Calendar Grosses

2012 Grosses (2012-only releases)

Year-to-Date Comparison