Games Ruin Reunion, Sink Titanic
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 8, 2012
Easter Weekend is here, along with glorious spring weather, baseball and two new(ish) theatrical releases from Hollywood that took over megaplexes. American Reunion, an attempt to recapture the magic of the American Pie films, was the primary new offering from studios, but we also had an obligatory 3D re-release. Titanic 3D, a remastering of James Cameron’s world-conquering, Academy Award-winning masterpiece, was looking to capitalize on the 100th anniversary of the tragic event. Neither one was able to overcome the awesomeness of The Hunger Games, though, as that film pushed past the $300 million mark and showed some staying power.
Yes, our #1 film for the Easter holiday weekend is The Hunger Games, which now sits at a massive $302.8 million and still has plenty of life left. The Lionsgate feature earned another $33.5 million over the weekend, which included a Good Friday that many had as a day off. Its decline was an improved 43%, which is pretty solid when you consider that Easter Sunday is well known for being a family day that keeps people away from movie theaters.
In the process, The Hunger Games becomes the 37th most successful film of all-time and will enter the top 25 within the next week or so. To put this performance into perspective, consider that it has now earned more than any Twilight film (ha ha!), as well as every Harry Potter film except for the first one and the last one.
Compared to the other top ten openers of all-time, The Hunger Games is standing out for its long-lasting appeal. Only two titles from that group, The Dark Knight and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, had better third weekends. Also, assuming that estimates hold, only The Dark Knight has a better third weekend decline than The Hunger Games’ 43%. Overall, this is the ninth best third weekend in box office history, conveniently surpassing a film named Titanic, which we will discuss again in a moment. The Hunger Games is headed for a final domestic total somewhere north of $350 million, which means The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of work to do if it is to be crowned most popular film of 2012.
Self-fulfilling prophecy undoes the American Pie franchise as American Reunion finishes in second place with a disappointing $21.5 million. This total represents the worst performance for the franchise since viewing audiences first learned about that one time at band camp. The original American Pie debuted to $18.7 million, which inflation adjusts to roughly $31 million in 2012 box office dollars. That title and its two sequels all cleared $100 million domestically. Unfortunately, high school reunions are stale affairs where almost complete strangers reunite to share awkward moments with people they barely remember. The only way the situation could be worse is if one of them is Stifler.
American Reunion is less an attempt to reinvigorate a retired franchise than a cautionary tale about the dangers of young Hollywood. Making return appearances are Tara Reid and Natasha Lyonne, both of whom have been among the most popular dead pool picks of the 2000s. Also onboard is Shannon Elizabeth, whose celebrity has been maintained almost exclusively due to her frequent appearance at professional poker events. And then there are the male leads. Jason Biggs, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Chris Klein and Eddie Kaye Thomas are virtually forgotten while Seann William Scott works regularly but is far from a household name. In fact, the only male cast member who still has a major presence in Hollywood is John Cho, who once took a trip to White Castle and somehow wound up on the starship Enterprise.