April 1, 2012



How long before the Hunger Games sequels start arriving in 3D?
THE HUNGER GAMES:  On its current trajectory toward a $350-375M US total, THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate/Summit) will end up among the 15-20th biggest movies of all time, outgrossing all the Twilights and every Harry Potter except Deathly Hallows Part 2.  At $61.1M, it has the 7th highest 2d weekend ever (although 3 of the 6 above it are non-sequels).  Its 60% drop is fine for a mega-sequel, but high compared to non-sequels –so far, the boxoffice pattern Games seems to be following most closely is Spider-Man 3, which opened with $151M, dropped 62% in its 2d weekend, and ended up with $336M in the US.  Comparatively speaking, Hunger Games’ $34.8M weekend overseas wasn’t any more impressive than last week’s opening, and clearly the international market will be the franchise’s most important area for growth.

OPENINGSWRATH OF THE TITANS (Warners), with its $34M opening, continues to serve as a referendum on how little people liked Clash of the Titans.  More worrisome to Warners may be the $78M overseas weekend:  apples-to-apples comparisons with Clash aren’t possible, because Wrath opened worldwide immediately (except Japan), while Clash took 3 weeks to expand, however that $78M is only 10% above John Carter‘s recent opening, and that picture won’t end up anywhere near Clash‘s $330M international total.  A lower overseas gross will probably mark the end of the Titans franchise.  MIRROR MIRROR (Relativity), meanwhile, had nothing to feel good about with its $19M opening, and all the studio can do is hope to salvage some play out of school holidays over the next 2 weeks. 
HOLDOVERSSALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN (CBS) tripled its theatres to 483 but only increased 80% for the weekend to $1.3M, with a blah $2600 per-theatre average.  JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME (Paramount Vantage) fared even worse, doubling its count to to 513 and increasing only 15% to $675K, a $1300 per-theatre average that should have it thrown out of most of those theatres as quickly as their deals will allow.  OCTOBER BABY (Goldwyn) claimed attention for its per-theatre average last weekend, but that was an artificial number that came from anti-abortion group attendance–it slumped 54% in Weekend 2, with a per-theatre number below 6 of the films in the Top 10.
21 JUMP STREET (Sony) continues to hold superbly with no other R-rated comedies in the market, and only had a 27% drop.  (American Reunion will go after this audience on Friday, but it’s not clear how many will care.)  THE LORAX (Universal) wasn’t hurt at all by the arrival of Mirror Mirror and fell less than 40%.  JOHN CARTER (Disney) continued on its voyage to space-oblivion with another 60% plummet.
LIMITED RELEASES:  Harvey Weinstein did his thing, and BULLY (Weinstein Company) rode the publicity wagon to a $23K average in 5 NY/LA theatres.  THE RAID: REDEMPTION (Sony Classics) didn’t expand as well as one might have expected, tripling its theatres to 48 but only increasing 33%, with a $6K per-theatre number.  The same studio’s FOOTNOTE, though, built nicely (albeit at a slightly lower level), also nearly tripling its theatre count to 60 and increasing 63%, with a $4200 per-theatre result.  

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."