Hunger Games Devours Titans and Julia Roberts
By John Hamann
April 1, 2012
All eyes were on The Hunger Games this weekend, to see if the latest (and almost greatest) uber-blockbuster could hold in its second weekend. It wasn't competition-free by any means. When your film opens to $152.5 million the weekend before, all comers are competition. Openers this weekend included Wrath of the Titans, sequel to the laughable Clash (but this time with Sam Worthington “trying”) and Mirror Mirror, the new fairy tale flick with Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. While the openers may seem shiny, a closer look reveals that there isn't much to them, and The Hunger Games has been given another opportunity.
Our number one film of the weekend is The Hunger Games – something that was never really in question. The real question was how it would hold, given last weekend's huge, record-breaking opening, the calendar configuration, and this weekend's competition. Since Sunday, when we last left off The Hunger Games story, the Jennifer Lawrence film has had solid returns through the week, however it was trending behind slightly the Twilight sequels in terms of mid-week grosses (although one also wouldn't expect a March film to see the same sort of weekday numbers as a Thanksgiving or July 4th release). I wondered if The Hunger Games was going to experience a huge drop-off of Twilight proportions this weekend, falling in the 70% range. To avoid a strong comparison to Twilight (which I pray it will), The Hunger Games needed to earn more than $46 million to stay away from that 70% plunge. The number that Lionsgate was looking to beat on Friday was approximately $17 million, as anything higher than that would likely keep the drop below the dreaded 70% area.
As you read in Tim Briody's Saturday Update yesterday, The Hunger Games was (thankfully) able to earn more on its second Friday than any of the moody vampire scenarios. The Hunger Games took in $18.9 million on Friday, about $2.2 million more than The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, and about $1.2 million more than New Moon. At first glance, these may seem like small numbers, but once the internal multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) is applied, the difference is bigger. Take for example the difference between The Hunger Games and Breaking Dawn Part 1 – if we multiply that $2.2 million by 3.3 (a generic second weekend multiplier), the difference becomes $7.25 million, and shows the potential for separation between the two films.
While it easily bested the Twilight series, The Hunger Games still fell on its second Friday against movies like The Dark Knight ($23.2 million second Friday), and the original Spider-Man ($19.9 million second Friday). It did beat the biggest opener of all time, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2, which despite opening to $169 million (almost $17 million more than The Hunger Games), took in only $14.6 million on its second Friday, down a wild 84% from the previous Friday, when its midnight Thursday numbers were added in.