SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: Overall the North American weekend looks to be down around -11% from last year which may make Hollywood nervous going into the all-important summer movie season starting in May after a super-heated 2012 first quarter. The difference in this weekend’s close finishes were a matter of MPAA ratings and theater counts with 22% of K-12 out of school Friday. Lionsgate’s PG13-rated The Hunger Games scored the most locations in the U.S. and Canada this weekend and beat its domestic competition for the 4th straight weekend. As of Sunday morning, its global cume is now a gargantuan $500+ million! Fox received its hoped-for Friday (#1 after matinees) and Saturday (+24%) family fare bumps for the Farrelly Brothers’ PG-rated The Three Stooges, which played in more runs than Lionsgate’s R-rated The Cabin In The Woods. Interesting to note that both Stooges and Cabin were greenlit by then MGM production chief Mary Parent — and then taken over by other studios when MGM couldn’t handle its debt load. CinemaScores were as follows: Fox’s The Three Stooges ‘B-‘ (‘A’ from audiences under 18, ‘C’ from 25 and older), Lionsgate’s The Cabin In The Woods ‘C’ (‘D+’ from females), FilmDistrict’s Lockout ‘B-‘. Interesting how the Stooges reviews were better than expected, especially from top-end critics who found genius in that silliness. But not as good as Joss Whedon’s horror pic which received truly stellar reviews, including 93% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Three Stooges will be Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s 3rd highest opener.
Universal’s Battleship continues to screen strongly overseas with estimates bringing the 72-hour total to $58 million now that all 26 international territories are open. Director Peter Berg’s military vs alien actioner debuted to #1 in 24 of those new territories. For months the studio has fought bad buzz about how risky this expensive pic has been. Especially when the studio is claiming it came in at $209M — and everyone else is saying $250+M. And there’s still the possibility that, in the United States at least, it could become a disappointing ”John Carter in gunmetal grey”. But the film is performing well enough to allay fears that the rah-rah-USA patriotic theme in 2D might not do well internationally in a crowded foreign marketplace (against The Hunger Games, Titanic 3D, American Pie Reunion, and The Wrath Of The Titans). Universal pursued an unorthodox, even daring, strategy to open Battleship internationally more than a month before it debuts May 18th in North America. But it may pay off. My sources project the film could steam past $300M foreign box office based on current trends. The film rolls out to another 24 territories including big guns Russia and China next weekend.
My sources estimate these early Top Ten grosses for Friday, Saturday, and the weekend in North America:
1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 4 [3,916 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $6.5M, Saturday $9.5M, Weekend $21.7M, Cume $335.7M
2. The Three Stooges (Fox) NEW [3,477 Theaters] PG
Friday $5.6M, Saturday $6.9M, Weekend $17.1M
3. The Cabin In The Woods (Lionsgate) NEW [2,811 Theaters] R
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $5.9M, Weekend $15.1M
4. Titanic 3D (Paramount/Fox) Week 2 [2,697 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $3.3M, Saturday $5.1M, Weekend $11.4M (-34%), Cume $44.1M
5. American Reunion (Universal) Week 2 [3,203 Theaters] R
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $10.6M (-51%), Cume $39.8M
6. Mirror Mirror (Relativity) Week 3 [3,206 Theaters] PG
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.2M, Cume $49.6M
7. Wrath Of The Titans 3D (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,102 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.0M, Cume $71.3M
8. 21 Jump Street (Sony) Week 5 [2,735 Theaters] R
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $120.0M
9. Lockout (FilmDistrict) NEW [2,308 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $6.4M
10. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 3D (Universal) Week 7 [2,112 Theaters] PG
Friday $880K, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $3.0M, Cume $204.7M
FRIDAY 8:15 PM, 2ND UPDATE: My sources say latest weekend estimates based on today’s trends show that Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games looks like it will hold top spot again with a weekend between $19M-$22M, followed by Fox’s The Three Stooges with $17M-$20M, and Lionsgate’s The Cabin In The Woods with $15M-$17M. More later.
FRIDAY 4:15 PM UPDATE: Strong matinees are helping Twentieth Century Fox newcomer The Three Stooges to overperform at the North American box office. It was #1 for matinees today. By 4 PM it was neck-and-neck with Joss Whedon’s extremely well-reviewed The Cabin In The Woods at $6.4M-$6.5M. But the horror genre does better on Friday nights and the PG family fare best on Saturday mats. For the weekend, there’s a good chance Stooges could take down juggernaut The Hunger Games after Lionsgate’s 3 straight weeks atop the box office in the U.S. and Canada. Right now weekend projections are: Three Stooges $21M, The Hunger Games $21M, and Cabin In The Woods $17M. Hunger Games is looking like $4.7M-$5M today. At midday my sources upped their weekend Stooges projections to “possibly a number with a ‘2’ in front of it”.