Weekend Wrap-Up

Hunger Games = Box Office Insanity

By John Hamann

March 25, 2012

Her deodorant works!

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Following Friday's gross, The Hunger Games was already Lionsgate's sixth biggest grosser of all time, behind only a documentary, a Tyler Perry film, two Saw movies, and The Expendables. By the end of the weekend, this is already the studio's biggest release ever, and by a mile. Fahrenheit 9/11 earned $120 million way back in 2004. The Hunger Games exceeds that number by multiple tens of millions. The Hunger Games is from a studio that has only two films in its library that have earned more than $100 million, and whose biggest hit last year was The Lincoln Lawyer, which brought in only $58 million. The Hunger Games brings Lionsgate into the forefront, and will keep it there for years to come.

Second this weekend is 21 Jump Street, last weekend's winner, which played fairly well versus The Hunger Games. 21 Jump Street took in $21.3 million this weekend, which gives it a not bad 41% drop compared to last weekend. My belief is that Sony, the distributor of Jump Street, intentionally threw this one into the storm that is The Hunger Games, so it could play as counter-programming against the behemoth. This plan worked for Horrible Bosses when Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opened, as the Warner Bros. comedy opened the weekend before to $28.3 million, and dropped only 37% in its second weekend, against Potter's record breaking debut. Jump Street, which cost only $42 million to make, has now earned $71.1 million after only 10 days of release.

Third is Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which gets hammered somewhat by The Hunger Games, but was waning already, as it had already earned $160 million following last weekend's $22.8 million gross. This weekend, The Lorax earned $13.1 million, off 42% compared to last weekend. The $70 million Universal production has now taken in $177.3 million stateside, and the only question now is how much more than $200 million it will earn.

John Carter takes a Katniss arrow to the forehead this weekend, as The Hunger Games has officially killed the ailing Martian-American. After a $13.6 million second weekend, John Carter can only earn a distant $5 million this weekend, giving it death-blow drop of 63%. The $250 million Disney film now looks like it will struggle to get to $75 million stateside, but has earned over $125 million overseas, which will ease the blow for Disney. Give John Carter $62.3 million so far.


Films finishing from fifth to eighth could end up anywhere in that rank. The only one to talk about is a surprise entry, the faith-based film October Baby, from a distributor Samuel Goldwyn. This film about abortion (it's aimed at religious audiences, so you know what side it's on) earned $1.7 million this weekend from 398 venues. It had a venue average of $4,406. Kudos to the distributor for knowing they would get a top ten slot this weekend, with The Hunger Games dominating.

The rest of the top ten looks like this: Fifth went to Relativity's Act of Valor, which earned $2.1 million. It has a total now of $65.9 million against a budget of $12 million. Next up in sixth is Project X, which earned $2 million. It has a running total of $51.7 million against a $12 million budget. Seventh was Eddie Murphy's A Thousand Words, still stuck at 0% fresh at RottenTomatoes. It took in $1.9 million, dropped 47% versus last weekend and has a total of $14.9 million. Eighth was the aforementioned October Baby. Ninth is Denzel Washington's Safe House, which earned $1.4 million and has a domestic cume of $122.6 million. Finally, tenth goes to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. That one earned $1.4 million, has a domestic total of $97.2 million, and has earned more than $300 million worldwide against a budget of $80 million.

Overall this weekend, it's all about The Hunger Games, as that film alone easily beat last year's top 12 total. A year ago, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 was on top with $23.7 million (it was the weekend that Sucker Punch was sent to die), and the top 12 films could only manage $108.6 million. This weekend, the top 12 pulls in an awesome $206.9 million. All of a sudden, next weekend gets very interesting, as Wrath of the Titans (sequel to Clash) is released and will also likely be huge, setting up a big one-two punch at the box office. The question will be how Relativity's Mirror Mirror performs versus the second weekend of The Hunger Games.

Top Weekend Box Office for 3/23/12-3/25/12 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Hunger Games Lionsgate $155,000,000 New $155,000,000
2 21 Jump Street Columbia Pictures (Sony) $21,300,000 - 41% $71,051,000
3 Dr. Seuss' the Lorax Universal $13,108,505 - 42% $177,338,515
4 John Carter WALT DISNEY $5,014,000 - 63% $62,347,000
5 Act of Valor Relativity $2,062,000 - 45% $65,941,724
6 A Thousand Words Paramount Pictures $1,925,000 - 47% $14,926,000
7 Project X Warner Bros. Pictures $1,950,000 - 52% $51,752,000
8 October Baby Samuel Goldwyn $1,718,427 New $1,718,427
9 Safe House Universal $1,389,850 - 49% $122,569,165
10 Journey 2: the Mysterious Island WARNER BROS. $1,373,000 - 43% $97,155,000
11 Casa De Mi Padre Lionsgate $1,100,000 - 52% $3,948,252
12 This Means War 20th Century Fox $1,000,000 - 53% $52,284,737
  Also Opening/Notables
  The Raid: Redemption Sony Classics $220,937 New $220,937
  The Deep Blue Sea Music Box $120,050 New $120,050
  Jeff Who Lives At Home Paramount Vantage $600,000 - 30% $1,787,000
  The Kid With a Bike IFC Films $100,000 + 100% $165,000
  Gerhard Richter Painting Kino Lorber $16,500 + 22% $50,000
  Salmon Fishing In t He Yemen Cbs Films $700,000 + 52% $1,626,200
  Footnote Sony Classics $164,324 + 165% $328,409
  Jiro Dreams of Sushi Magnolia $155,000 + 170% $365,000
  The Vow SONY $850,000 - 59% $122,785,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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