Fri, March 30, 2012

'Hunger Games' set to crush 'Titans' at box office

2012-03-30 09:23:08 GMT2012-03-30 17:23:08(Beijing Time)

The Regal Cinemas is seen during the opening night of "The Hunger Games" in Los Angeles, California March 22, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

"The Hunger Games" is all but certain to remain at the top of the domestic box office this weekend, beating "Wrath of the Titans" and "Mirror Mirror."

The two newcomers should have a pretty good weekend, too.

"Wrath," from Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, is expected to pull in somewhere around $40 million, and "Mirror Mirror," from Relativity Media, is on track to take around $24 million.

But "Hunger Games," Lionsgate's PG-13 adaptation of Suzanne Collins' bestseller, remains a juggernaut. It opened to $152.5 million -- the third-biggest opening of all time -- last weekend, and will likely pull in $60 million this weekend. It's playing at just as many locations, 4,137, as it did last weekend.

The previous box-office champ for the month of March, "Alice in Wonderland," opened to $116 million in 2010. It dropped by 46 percent, to $62 million, in its second week of release.

If "Hunger Games" drops by the same amount, it will gross $70.15 million.

"Wrath of the Titans" is a follow-up to the 2010 "Clash of the Titans." That movie opened to $61.2 million in April 2010. The PG-13 sequel, like the original, stars Sam Worthington as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades.

Warner Bros. and Legendary made "Wrath" for about $150 million -- $25 million more than the original. But that movie opened against "The Last Song" and "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?" Neither of those movies competed for the "Clash of the Titans" audience.

"The Hunger Games," by contrast, is drawing a significant number of male moviegoers -- and that's clearly "Wrath's" audience.

According to the audience research firm NRG, 81 percent of moviegoers are aware of "Wrath," but 85 percent of males younger than 25 are aware of it and 90 percent of those 25 and older are aware of it. The corresponding numbers for women are 72 percent and 70 percent.

Critics don't love it. Movie Review Intelligence gives the film a moderate 53 percent, while Rotten Tomatoes gives it a shabby 27. Metacritic is between the two, with a 37 percent.

Jonathan Liebsman directed the swords-and-sandals epic, which opens at 3,545 locations.

"Mirror Mirror," meanwhile, is the first of two Snow White movies coming out this year. Universal will open "Snow White and the Huntsman" on June 1.

This one, from Relativity Media, is a PG fantasy squarely targeted at families, more specifically at young girls and their mothers.

The picture stars Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Armie Hammer, and cost about $85 million to produce. But after tax incentives and foreign presales, Relativity is on the hook for about $30 million.

The company expects "Mirror Mirror" will gross somewhere in the low $20 million range -- in line with outside box-office watchers.

"Mirror Mirror" is tracking best among women and girls: While only 19 percent of men younger than 25 and 26 percent of those 25 and older say they have "definite" interest in seeing the film, 39 percent of younger women and 48 percent of older ones reported such interest.

Critics like it better than "Wrath of the Titans." Movie Review Intelligence gives the movie, which Tarsem Singh directed, a 55.7, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 54 and Metacritic rates it a 47. It opens at 3,603 locations.

The Weinstein Co. is opening "Bully" in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

The Weinsteins got a bucket of press after the MPAA gave the documentary an R rating, and its appeals board narrowly upheld the rating. The Weinsteins, along with more than 20 members of Congress and celebrities including Meryl Streep and Ellen DeGeneres have criticized the rating.

Ultimately, the Weinsteins chose to release the movie without a rating.


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