Sunday, March 25, 2012

Box Office Report: Fans Show Up In Record Numbers For "The Hunger Games"

Last week we thought "21 Jump Street" had an incredible weekend with the record it set (highest-grossing opening weekend for an R-rated comedy released outside of the summer months). And while I still see that as a huge accomplishment for the film, "The Hunger Games" did it one better this weekend. Not only did this film set the opening weekend record for March, it pulled in the third highest opening weekend gross for any movie, all-time!

Outside of "The Hunger Games'" massive opening weekend, it was still nice enough to leave a few bucks for some of the other films. "21 Jump Street" had a strong second week, of course appealing to a completely opposite demographic as the Hunger Games crowd, and "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" continued to chug along. Between those three films though, that pretty much ate up all of the box office dollars.

Check out all of the full numbers and breakdowns after the break.

So, as I said, "The Hunger Games" did pretty good this weekend. While the official numbers will probably change a little bit tomorrow when they're finalized, it's projected right now that the total weekend take was right at $155MM! That's insane for a non-summer release! It's already more than doubled its projection budget, so I think it's safe to assume that fans can rest assured knowing that the entirety of this series will be made for the silver screen. I enjoyed this movie. It was a cool concept, and unlike some of these other young adult novel adaptations, it actually featured good effects and a decent story. It wasn't my favorite, but I don't need to get into that here - if you want more opinions on the film, I go into great detail in my review that was posted a few days ago.
I'm impressed with the overall numbers though. And honestly, I don't know what I was expecting for this first film. "Twilight" opened with only a $69MM weekend, but I think the comparisons to that film finally need to be put to rest. I get that the demographics these films are targeting are the exact same people, but I've talked to many adults who also had a respect for these books, compared to very few who ever got into the Twilight series. I think there might be more crazed fans for the Twilight series, but I think the overall number of people who respect "The Hunger Games" is much higher.

Sources are projecting that ultimately this film will gross right around $350MM nationally, which would put it right about where "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" currently sits, and 20th all-time. This is definitely the first mega-hit of the year though. Now I'm just curious what film this summer will end up beating it, if any. Do we think anything will have a stronger opening weekend than this film this year?

Outside of that film, like I mentioned above, "21 Jump Street" did still manage a very respectable (and fitting) $21MM this weekend. Again, the demographics are completely different, so this was a nice alternative for moviegoers who weren't ever really on board with the Hunger Games thing. But "21 Jump Street" has put together solid reviews for being such a perverse, R-rated film, which have surely helped lead to a great second weekend.

"The Lorax" was the only other film that enjoyed $10MM+ success this weekend, bringing in another solid total of just over $13MM. Despite its poor reviews from critics, this film continues to roll. I'm amazed every week how strong its numbers are. Eventually it's going to have to cool off, right? The film is now only about $20MM short of a $200MM total gross.

Otherwise, "John Carter" continued its downfall, pulling in only $5MM this weekend. We've already discussed its unfortunate label as a failure on this site, but things didn't get any better this weekend. Luckily, as is with most big-budget action films, it's still doing pretty decent overseas, so if it can climb a little higher there, it might at least break even when it's all said and done, and at this point, that's gotta be looked at as a positive.

Nothing else was really that exciting though. Everything else in the top 10 all bunched around the $1-2MM mark.

Here are the full numbers for everything in the top 15, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: