Box Office: Greek gods, Snow White no match for ‘The Hunger Games’

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‘The Hunger Games’ survived another weekend atop the box office, easily picking off its rivals to claim the No. 1 spot for the second time.

The movie opened with an astounding $152.5 million last weekend, and has now surged past the $200-million mark after just 10 days in theaters in the United States and Canada. The movie collected an additional $61.1 million this weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Lionsgate, bringing its total to $251 million.


Meanwhile, two new films didn’t put up much of a fight against the blockbuster. The 3-D sequel ‘Wrath of the Titans’ debuted with a soft $34.2 million, a little over half as much as the original started off with two years ago. ‘Mirror Mirror,’ a modern spin on the Snow White fairy tale, was similarly disappointing with its lackluster $19-million opening.

PHOTOS: Box office top ten

“The Hunger Games” saw its ticket sales fall 60% this weekend, partially due to the fact that the movie was no longer playing in IMAX theaters. Because “Wrath of the Titans” was already booked in IMAX locations, the film about teens battling to the death could only remain on the high-format screens for a week. (By comparison, “Wrath” grossed $4.7 million domestically from IMAX screenings, while “The Hunger Games” collected $10.6 million last weekend.)

At this rate, it seems likely that the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel will collect at least $350 million in North America. The film also grossed an extra $34.8 million abroad this weekend, raising its international tally to $113.9 million.

Those who saw ‘Wrath of the Titans’ this weekend assigned it an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore -- slightly better than the B score that 2010’s ‘Clash of the Titans’ received. While the original was criticized for its last-minute 3-D conversion, audiences still liked it, propelling the film to worldwide ticket sales of $493 million. The new film again stars Sam Worthington as Perseus, a half-god, half-human battling against the wrath of his brother and an array of angry beasts.

Not surprisingly, the follow-up attracted a large male contingent this weekend: 66%. Roughly 65% of ‘Wrath’ moviegoers -- about 55% of whom were over the age of 25 -- were willing to shell out a few extra bucks to see the film in 3-D.

‘Wrath’ was co-financed by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures for about $150 million -- $25 million more than it cost to produce the original, which opened with $61.2 million.

Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, said the comparison between the opening of the first and second film was not a fair one because the original opened on Good Friday, when more teenagers were out on spring break.

“We made a decision to open a week before the holiday this time and generate positive word-of-mouth since we had issues with the last one regarding the 3-D conversion,” Fellman said. “We’re gonna get there -- we’re just gonna get there in a different way.”

The original ended up making 67% of its overall business abroad, and the sequel also seems destined to follow that trajectory. This weekend, ‘Wrath’ opened in 60 foreign markets and grossed $78 million.

Audiences liked ‘Mirror Mirror’ as much as ‘Wrath,’ giving it the same B+ grade. Of course, the film attracted a far different demographic, 60% of whom were families with children. Relativity Media, which produced and is distributing the movie, is similarly hopeful that the film will perform well in the coming weeks when more children are out of school.

The independent company spent more money to create ‘Mirror Mirror’ than it has any other film -- about $100 million, according to a person close to the production who was not authorized to speak publicly. A Relativity spokesperson said the final cost was actually $85 million.

Directed by ‘Immortals’ filmmaker Tarsem Singh, the fairy tale stars newcomer Lily Collins as the iconic princess attempting to escape her tyrannical stepmother, an evil queen played by Julia Roberts. Later this year, another Snow White adaptation will hit theaters: Universal’s more action-driven ‘Snow White and the Huntsman,’ out in June, features Kristen Stewart as Snow White. Early comparisons of the two film’s trailers favored the ‘Huntsman’ version -- and after the unimpressive start for ‘Mirror Mirror,’ the Universal film may end up being the box office winner.

[Updated, 12:54 p.m. April 1: Ahead of its U.S. opening April 27, ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ debuted overseas in a number of foreign markets. The 3-D stop-motion animated film opened in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Germany and grossed $7.8 million in all. The movie performed best in the United Kingdom, where its creator, Aardman Animations, is based.

Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic office, with international results when available, according to studio estimates:

1. ‘The Hunger Games’ (Lionsgate): $61.1 million on its second weekend, down 60%. Domestic total: $251 million. $34.8 million overseas in 67 foreign markets. International total: $113.9 million. 2. ‘Wrath of the Titans’ (Warner Bros./Legendary): Opened to $34.2 million. $78 million overseas in 60 foreign markets.

3. ‘Mirror Mirror’ (Relativity): Opened to $19 million.

4. ‘21 Jump Street’ (Sony/MGM): $15 million on its third weekend, down 27%. Domestic total: $93.1 million. $4 million overseas in 15 foreign markets. International total: $22.2 million.

5. ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ (Universal): $8 million on its fifth weekend, down 39%. Domestic total: $189.6 million. $14.5 million overseas in 43 foreign markets. International total: $37.7 million.
6. ‘John Carter’ (Disney): $2 million on its fourth weekend, down 60%. Domestic total: $66.2 million. $6.2 million overseas in 54 foreign markets. International total: $188.3 million.

7. ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ (CBS Films): $1.3 million on its fourth weekend, up 81%. Domestic total: $3.2 million.

8. ‘Act of Valor’ (Relativity/Bandito Bros.): $1 million on its sixth weekend, down 51%. Domestic total: $67.7 million.

9. ‘A Thousand Words’ (Paramount/DreamWorks): $915,000 on its fourth weekend, down 53%. Domestic total: $16.5 million.

10. ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’ (Warner Bros.): $835,000 on its eighth weekend, down 38%. Domestic total: $98.2 million. $2.2 million overseas in 47 foreign markets. International total: $214.5 million.]


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-- Amy Kaufman