Sunday, April 22, 2012

Box Office Report: "The Hunger Games" Dethroned

Well it took five weeks, but "The Hunger Games" finally dropped out of the top spot in the weekend box office. It was the new release "Think Like a Man" that strongly exceeded expectations and came away with the number one spot. But that wasn't the only new release that was able to oust the reigning champ. "The Lucky One" also wanted a piece of the action, and ended up with the second spot this weekend. But "The Hunger Games" was able to edge out Disney's newest, "Chimpanzee", and claim the third spot, putting up strong numbers for its fifth weekend.

Outside of the top four spots, there wasn't very much too out of the norm. A handful of films crossed significant box office milestones this weekend, so those are for sure worth mentioning.

So "Think Like a Man" proved much stronger than I expected this weekend. From the trends over the past couple of weeks it was almost assured that this would be the weekend where "The Hunger Games" would fall. So I wasn't surprised by that fact. But what did surprise me was the amount of money separating these two films. Without digging too deep, off the top of my head I would have projected both "Think Like a Man" and "The Lucky One" to be in the $20-$25MM range this weekend, with "The Hunger Games" pulling in $15-$18MM. Two of those films did their part, but it was "Think Like a Man" that decided to completely outdo expectations. The $33MM it made this weekend practically tripled its budget, and more than doubled the take from "The Hunger Games". And though April is a relatively weak month, it finished off the weekend with the ninth highest opening gross for the month all-time. And while anytime you can rank in the top 10 all-time for an opening weekend gross it's impressive, to give you an idea of how that fits in, it finished $3MM behind "The Scorpion King" for eight place. Nonetheless, it's impressive numbers, and numbers that I did not expect this comedy to put up. The reviews are still generally negative, but I have seen its score jump about 20% over the last few days, so this might be a little better than we originally imagined. What intrigues me the most is what kind of legs this film will have. I'm curious to see where it falls next weekend.

In second place this weekend was the Nicholas Sparks adapted film, "The Lucky One". While I kind of thought this would be the film that ultimately took the crown this weekend, my internal projections for the film were still about where I figured they'd be (I just missed on "Think Like a Man"). The film pulled in $22.8MM this weekend, taking a sure second place. This was the second-highest opening weekend gross for a Nicholas Sparks adaptation ("Dear John"), so that pretty much fits in with the rest of the group. At this point, we know what the audience is for these films, and generally, they're going to make this kind of money regardless of their quality. Outside of "The Notebook" which was not only the highest all-time grossing, but also the highest reviewed of these films (52% on Rotten Tomatoes), "The Lucky One" looks like it's on track to be just another installment of these films. It's Rotten Tomatoes score of 21% sets it nicely between "The Last Song" (19%) and "Dear John" (28%). We'll see what happens next weekend, but judging by previous films, I'd expect two more weekends in the $12-$18MM range before quietly fading away.

"The Hunger Games" finished in third place with $14.5MM. It's drop-off was actually pretty good still (only 31%), so it might still have one $10MM+ weekend in its bag somewhere. We've talked about this film plenty, so really the only aspect I think is really worth mentioning is that with this weekend's amount, it surpassed the $350MM mark nationally. A long time ago, this is where I expected this film would ultimately rest. It's had slightly stronger legs than expected, but I think at this point $380MM will be a nice round projection. So definite congratulations to the film for those number. It just passed "Transformers" for 19th on the all-time domestic list, and is only about $1MM behind "Jurassic Park" for 18th place. If it does get to $380MM, it can finish it's run in the top 15 All-Time.

The only other new release this weekend was the Disney documentary, "Chimpanzee". It did just over $10MM this weekend, which you can probably assume as a solid take for a nature documentary. It's reviewed well (as would be expected), it's just never going to have massive numbers due to the type of film it is. Worth noting though is that this was the strongest opening weekend take for a Nature Documentary. Granted, the content in this field isn't terribly competitive, but still, it's a new record and one the film should be proud of.

Outside of those four, most other films had pretty expected drops. "21 Jump Street" had the smallest percentage drop of anything in the top 10 (29.9%), and continued its impressive run. With it's $4MM purse this weekend, it actually crossed the $125MM mark, and over the week it passed "Superbad" making it the highest-grossing High School Comedy of all-time.

Other films with notable milestones this weekend: "Titanic" surpassed $50MM in its re-release this weekend ($653.6MM all-time - now only $100MM behind "Avatar"); "Wrath of the Titans" crossed $75MM, now half-way to its $150MM budget (domestically, at least - $278MM worldwide); and since I failed to mention it last weekend, "The Lorax" has now crossed the $200MM mark, just this weekend passed "Ratatouille" for 19th place on the all-time Animated Movies list (tons of competition in that field!).

But that's pretty much it. check out the full weekend numbers below, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: