Hunger Games Plays With Cabin, Stooges
By John Hamann
April 15, 2012
The April box office slow-down is once again upon us this weekend, as The Hunger Games repeats on top for the fourth straight weekend, and the openers fail to earn $20 million. In 2010, the top 12 films in the first week of April earned $168.6 million; by April 23rd of that year, the top 12 was down to $89.7 million. This weekend, while The Hunger Games continues its pace toward greatness, openers were the much talked about The Cabin in the Woods from Josh Whedon, The Three Stooges from Fox, and Lockout from Open Road. I can feel us sliding already.
If Zac Efron's target audience has dissipated (and there's a good argument that it has), and The Lucky One fails to earn more than $15 million next weekend, The Hunger Games is likely going to be a five-weekend champ. Why? In its fourth weekend, The Hunger Games earned another $21.5 million, down a not bad 35% compared to last weekend's Good Friday inflated weekend. Quick trivia: What was the last movie in release that repeated at #1 four consecutive times? It's not Inception (three times). It's not Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (it was number one only once). It's not Alice in Wonderland (three times). Instead, it is Avatar, which reigned for seven consecutive weekends at the end of 2009 and through the first month of 2010. Hunger Games' fourth weekend is in no way record breaking – the second biggest fourth weekend behind Avatar's $50 million is Titanic, way back at $28.7 million, followed closely by Spider-Man at $28.5 million. This weekend's gross does, however, make the Twilight films look foolish. By weekend four, every Twilight film ever released topped out at an embarrassing $7 million.
The Hunger Games is now on the verge of joining the top 20 domestic films of all time. The Jennifer Lawrence blockbuster moved ahead of total domestic grosses of some classic films this weekend including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($317.6 million), Iron Man ($318.6 million), and Alice in Wonderland ($334.2 million). To finish in the top 10 all time, The Hunger Games needs to gross more than Toy Story 3, which rang up $415 million in 2010. While a longshot, the next two weekends are barren in terms of exciting releases (they barely have a pulse), but The Avengers opens May 4th and will destroy everything in its path. So far, The Hunger Games has pulled in a magical $337.1 million, more than three times the gross of Lionsgate's third biggest film ever, The Expendables.
Second goes to The Three Stooges, which is either A) an affront to the past, or B) an affront to the present. Regardless, enough people got out to see this to keep it ahead of The Cabin in the Woods, which I thought might sneak up and steal second. The Stooges, played by comedy superstars (?) Will Sasso, Sean Hayes and something called Chris Diamantopoulos, earned a not-completely-bad $17.1 million from a way too wide 3,477 venues. This one seemed made for Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen as Moe, but 20th Century Fox went cheap and got TV people. Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who haven't had a hit since the early part of the LAST decade, The Three Stooges drew a 42% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. The studio has to be thankful the result isn't worse – critically or box office wise. Fox put up quite the marketing fight for this one, likely because the production budget was so slim – only $35 million. Stooges will likely make money for Fox, as this one may also play in Europe.