'Hunger Games' continues its box office winning streak

3:56 PM, Apr 1, 2012   |    comments
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games." (Credit: Lionsgate)
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The Hunger Games devoured the competition this weekend at theaters, though the film doesn't have nearly the appetite it did last week.

Games dropped 60% from its monstrous debut, taking in $61.1 million and easily topping the box office, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.

While the film saw ticket sales slow, it could afford to. The best-seller adaptation became the fifth-fastest to $200 million this weekend, joining five other movies to pass $200 million in eight days and collecting $251 million in 10.

Gitesh Pandya of Boxofficeguru notes that Hunger lost hundreds of IMAX screens to this weekend's action film Wrath of the Titans, forcing it to rely on conventional screens and loyal fans.

"Overall buzz from fans is very positive," he says. "This property lends itself well to repeat business."

Tim Briody of Boxofficeprophets.com says that "on the surface, it feels like an extreme nosedive" from last weekend's debut of $152.5 million.

"But keep in mind we're still dealing with the third-largest opening of all time," Briody says. "The drop was bound to be high."

And it was plenty to defeat Titans, the sequel to 2010's sword-and-sandals picture that did $163 million and was second.

This time around, though, part two acted like the sequels of old, taking in half its predecessor's haul. Wrath opened to $34.2 million, still about $5 million higher than analysts projected. Only 24% of critics liked it, though 70% of fans gave it a thumbs-up, according to amalgam site Rottentomatoes.com. The original opened to $61 million two years ago on roughly the same weekend.

The first of two Snow White tales of 2012, Julia Roberts' Mirror Mirror, also eclipsed most projections, bringing in $19 million and third place. Critics like the movie more than they did Wrath- half recommended the picture. But a mediocre 55% of fans enjoyed it, the site says.

The TV remake 21 Jump Street took fourth place with $15 million, while Dr. Seuss'The Lorax rounded out the top five with $8 million. The cartoon has done $189.6 million, the first hit of 2012.

Final figures are due Monday.

Ticket sales continue their brisk pace. Revenues are up 20% over the same period in 2011, while attendance is up 23% over last year, according to Hollywood.com.

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

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