SUNDAY, 8TH UPDATE… Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games continues its amazing run for the third weekend in a row for a new worldwide total past $460M. This gives the box office behemoth a 17-day total through Easter Sunday of $157.1M international and $302.8M domestic. In the U.S. and Canada, it overwhelmed both box office rivals Paramount/Fox’s Titanic 3D and Universal’s American Reunion. But the pair showed strength overseas. This weekend, The Hunger Games grossed $33.5M domestic and $25.5M foreign where it has been trying to stave off an onslaught from Warner Bros’ recent 3D entry Wrath Of The Titans. After a disappointing domestic start, this sequel is dominating overseas: over the holiday weekend it dropped just -43% from its opener with a gross of $43M in 60 markets from 13,540 screens. The international cume to date is now $152.5M and Warner Bros declared Wrath Of The Titans “#1 internationally”. It opens in Japan April 21st.
R-rated American Reunion finished in 2nd place with only a so-so $21.5M domestic but did surprisingly well around the globe with $19.3M from the 28 territories where it opened. That’s now $40.8M worldwide for the modestly $50M budgeted fourquel which set the highest grossing opening weekend internationally of all the previous films released theatrically in the American Pie franchise. It posted #1 openings in Russia ($5.1M), Australia ($5M), Netherlands ($1.1M), and Norway ($1.1M). “With schools closed for vacation this week, the good results should continue,” a Universal insider tells me. “We still have 30 territories to open including the major markets Germany April 26, France May 2, and Italy, Spain and the UK May 4.” Domestically, exit poll data showed audiences were almost evenly split between males and females (51% vs 49%) but predominantly aged 25 years and older (61%) vs under 25 (39%). As for the future of the $1.1+ billion franchise with 3 films that made $650M worldwide and 4 direct-to-DVD titles, Universal will try to keep it going to satisfy the foreign appetite for this kind of crappy raunch.
James Cameron’s $18M 3D conversion of his ocean epic met domestic expectations and, according to Paramount, made $17.3M this weekend. Titanic 3D reached $25.7M for its first 5 days in release despite a marathon running time. IMAX had 9 of the top 10 locations for the film earning $2.0M in 79 theaters. Exit polls showed that the audience was 51% aged 25 and under vs 49% aged 25 and older as well as 60% female vs 40% male. Amid reports of sold-out shows, Fox said the first international numbers steamed to $35.5M from 5,579 screens in 53 markets (84 countries). “That’s a per screen average of more than $6,300 per screen! It’s a fantastic start,” a Fox exec emails me. “We needed a $30M opening weekend to be on pace to $100M for international (not including China), and we exceeded that estimate by 18%.” Despite half the daily show times of the top competitors, Titanic 3D grabbed the #1 market share position in the UK, Germany, Italy, Austria and Sweden, while in a tight struggle for #1 in Russia with fellow opener American Reunion. Titanic 3D was the #1 MPA title in France, Japan, Hong Kong and Switzerland and #2 title overall in Holland, Belgium and Denmark. To illustrate how much the theatrical world has changed since the 1997/1998 release, the 2012 Russia opening weekend ($4.9M) is 97% of the lifetime theatrical result of what the original did in Russia in 1998 ($5.1M). China opens Tuesday, followed by the majority of Latin America (17 markets) including Mexico, Brazil and Argentina next weekend.
Here is the Top Ten this Easter Sunday:
1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 3 [4,137 Theaters] PG13
Friday $12.9M, Saturday $13.1M, Weekend $33.5M (-60%), Cume $302.8M
International $157.1M, Worldwide Cume $460.0M
2. American Reunion (Universal) NEW [3,192 Theaters]
Friday $9.3M, Saturday $7.5M, Weekend $21.4M
International $19.3M, Worldwide Cume $40.8M
3. Titanic 3D (Paramount/Fox) NEW – Wednesday opening [2,674 Theaters]
Friday $7.1M, Saturday $6.6M, Weekend $17.3M, Cume $25.7M
International $35.5M, Worldwide Cume $52.8M
4. Wrath Of The Titans 3D (Legendary/Warner) Week 2 [3,545 Theaters] PG13
Friday $12.4M, Saturday $5.4M, Weekend $15.0M, Cume $58.8M
International $152.5M, Worldwide Cume $211.3M
5. Mirror Mirror (Relativity) Week 2 [3,618 Theaters] PG
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $11.M (-39%), Cume $36.4M
6. 21 Jump Street (MGM/Sony) Week 4 [3,009 Theaters] R
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $10.2M, Cume $109.5M
7. Dr Seuss’ The Lorax 3D (Universal) Week 6 [3,003 Theaters] PG
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $5.0M, Cume $198.1M
8. Salmon Fishing In Yemen (CBS Films) Week 5 [524 Theaters] PG13
Friday $320K, Saturday $417K, Weekend $975K, Cume $4.6M
9. John Carter (Disney) Week 5 [1,015 Theaters] PG13
Friday $290K, Saturday $322K, Weekend $820K, Cume $67.9M
10. Safe House (Universal) Week 9 [482 Theaters] R
Friday $212K, Saturday $229K, Weekend $580K, Cume $124.7M
FRIDAY PM, 6TH UPDATE: I’ve just learned that Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games has grossed $131.6M internationally and $269.3M domestically in its first 13 days of release at the worldwide box office to cross $400M total. My sources say it’ll be the #1 movie again this Easter weekend with $12M-$14M for Friday at the North American box office and potentially $40M for the weekend. Universal’s American Reunion opening today is #2 with $8M-$10M today for a projected $25M for this weekend. Universal’s fourquel reunites the original cast of this raunchy popular franchise more than a decade later, including even that hot mess Tara Reid. (For those keeping score, there have been 8 releases total – but a quad went directly to home video.) In the U.S. and Canada, midnights at 37 locations opened with $660K. It pulled ahead of Paramount/Fox conversion Titanic 3D which opened Wednesday and is looking at $6.5M-$7.5M today for #3 and a possible 5-day cume of $20M through Easter Sunday.
Playing in the same 4,137 locations, Hunger Games grossed $6.3M Thursday for a new 13-day cume of $269.3M. In second place Thursday was Titanic 3D which grossed $3.6M playing in 2,674 theaters. “That’s a strong -16% hold given that Wednesday openers usually fall an average of -30+%,” Paramount, which is handling the domestic release tells me. Audiences gave it an ‘A’ CinemaScore. James Cameron’s epic new 2-day cume is $8.3M. There are still no foreign figures available from Fox. Universal reports that American Reunion opened as the No. 1 film in Australia, Russia, and Holland despite stiff competition at the box office there. It had the highest opening for the franchise in those 3 territories.
WEDNESDAY PM/THURSDAY AM: Paramount says Titanic 3D has now made around $4.7M domestic for today. But that number includes sneak screenings. Turns out that Wednesday’s actual $4.3M opening wasn’t good enough to beat the #1 movie at the North American box office, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games which grossed $4.6M from 4,137 theaters for a giant domestic cume of $262.9M. Then again, James Cameron’s epic had less runs and has a longer running time (194 minutes vs 142 minutes) so that meant less showings. Still it’s a great start, especially considering that about 30% of schools were out Wednesday, and 50% today, and 80% tomorrow. So now the world’s 2nd highest-grossing film officially embarks on another box office voyage for the five days through Easter Sunday. Paramount for domestic and Fox for international released Titanic 3D Wednesday with some previews Tuesday. (As if $1.8 billion theatrical gross for the original wasn’t enough already!)
I heard that Wednesday’s matinees were surprisingly strong, although last night’s North American midnights were expectedly negligible (and considering the film’s 194-minute running time): an estimated $250,000. Overall, the North American gross taken in so far is $425,000 primarily from the fan sneak screenings which Paramount released on just over 300 screens around the country. Some theater chains like AMC had a 6:30 PM screening Tuesday of Titanic 3D, and Pacific, Cinemark, and Arclight all seemed to have midnight shows. Today the film releases into 2,674 dates, including 79 IMAX theaters,Paramount is “still feeling good” about its projection of $20M-$22M for the first five days of release. Rival studios are expecting $25M-$30M. That more than covers the cost of the 3D conversion, which was overseen by James Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau, and completed by Stereo D, at a cost of approximately $18M.
But this Easter weekend will be a crowded U.S. and Canadian marketplace what with Universal’s American Reunion opening in 3,200 locations, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games still going strong, and Warner Bros’ Wrath Of The Titans and Relativity’s Mirror Mirror trying for more ticket sales. Titanic 3D‘s tracking didn’t look radically different from other blockbuster movies which had 3D conversions. What will help this release is Cameron’s 3D authority. Audiences expected to attend include mothers taking their daughters and film technology geeks. But let’s not forget that teenage girls and their repeat business made the original Titanic successful – or that their one-time heartthrob Leonardo Di Caprio is now approaching middle-age.
Fox opened or previewed Titanic 3D Wednesday night in 17 of the 84 international markets that opened day and date with domestic. It will release in a total of 108 international markets. The studio tells me it’s incredibly difficult to compare this release pattern with the original 2D release 14 years ago because the international landscape has changed so much. For instance, those territories with the most dramatic increases in screen counts include China (2,400 today vs 571 in 1997), Russia (796 vs 23), India (230 vs 82), South Korea (232 vs 75), and Japan (463 vs 263). In 1997, Fox released Titanic on approximately 7,000 screens for all of international (adding up the screen counts at the widest point of release in every territory). Whereas Titanic 3D will be releasing total international (including non-day and date markets) on approximately 8,600 screens. Also it’s interesting to recall that Fox only released the original Titanic day and date in 8 markets back in ’97 (Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and Taiwan). The majority of the international marketplace released in January and February of 1998. However Titanic 3D is releasing day and date in the majority of the international marketplace. China, Poland, Norway, and most of Latin America are releasing one week later.
Titanic 3D will play in a total of 100 international IMAX theatres: 83 of them opened Wednesday. Titanic also will open in 4DX™ theatres today. For civilians, 4DX™ bills itself as an all-five-senses immersive cinematic experience that puts audiences into a film’s environment with motion, wind, fog, lighting and even scent-based special effects, going way beyond 3D. Launched in 2009 by CGV, Asia’s largest theater chain, 4DX™ is currently available at 29 locations worldwide with 50 auditoriums slated by year’s end 2012. Titanic will open on the following number of 4DX screens: 12 screens in South Korea, 11 in Mexico, 2 in China, and 1 in Thailand.