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'The Hunger Games' Could Stay At Number One In Slow Weekend


After soaring past $300 million domestically last weekend, "The Hunger Games" is showing no signs of slowing down and should remain the number one box office draw despite three new releases. Horror-comedy "The Cabin in the Woods" looks like the new title in the best position, though a release in the 2,600-theater range probably won't be enough to topple "The Hunger Games." PG "The Three Stooges" and action-thriller "Lockout" are also set to hit theaters in wide release, but neither seems to be poised for a big weekend.

Written by Joss Whedon, the director of the upcoming "The Avengers," horror-comedy "The Cabin in the Woods" carries some very strong critical support heading into the weekend. Starring Chris Hemsworth, better known as Marvel superhero Thor, "The Cabin in the Woods" should also benefit from a so-so opening from "American Reunion" a week ago, opening the door for R-rated "Cabin" to find a nice chunk of the adult demographic.

The downside for "Cabin" is that distributor Lionsgate is giving it a relatively limited 2,600-theater release, which will ensure that it will play to fairly packed theaters but could hurt its overall opening potential. Still, with a rare Rotten Tomatoes rating over 90% and at least one popular star in its cast, "Cabin" should still be a good choice for adults looking for a unique horror film, and a solid opening in the $14 to $17 million range seems possible.

While "Cabin in the Woods" aims to scoop up adult audiences this weekend, families could turn to "The Three Stooges," though it's unlikely that the Fox release has the fan support needed to put up much of an opening weekend. What started as a project with Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro attached has taken a turn for the worse, and now "The Three Stooges" will likely have a hard time bringing in audiences familiar with the beloved comedy trio. Though some parents will still likely give "The Three Stooges" a chance, it will probably only attract families with younger children, limiting its potential and making a mediocre opening in the $10 to $12 million range seem likely.

Also hitting theaters this weekend is PG-13 action-thriller "Lockout," starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace. Though Pearce is a talented character actor, he hasn't fared nearly as well as a leading man and Grace is mostly known for a very limited role on popular show "Lost," which isn't a good combination to appeal to mainstream action audiences. Distributor FilmDistrict also is releasing it to just 2,308 total theaters this weekend, a red flag that its commercial potential is limited. Look for "Lockout" to struggle to find its audience and to finish below $10 million in opening revenue.

But if the new releases have a limited commercial appeal, "The Hunger Games" continues to hit big with its target demographic. "The Hunger Games" dipped just 43% from its second weekend to its third, showing that there is still plenty of an audience left as it heads into its fourth week in theaters. Though the foreign numbers aren't quite as high as distributor Lionsgate would have liked, it still should be able to cross $350 million domestically by the time it's out of theaters, which is a great start for a budding new franchise. As long as "Hunger Games" can earn $17 or $18 million this weekend, it should have no problem topping the box office for a fourth consecutive weekend.

Also likely to squeeze into the top ten this weekend is foreign release "The Raid: Redemption," a very popular Indonesian film that should get a boost as it expands to more than 650 venues this weekend. Though it probably won't be able to find too many mainstream viewers, "The Raid" should still play very well with martial arts lovers and it should be able to slide into the bottom portion of the top ten for distributor Sony Classics.

Next week, the box office looks to be in line for another slow weekend, with no major releases scheduled to hit theaters. Romantic drama "The Lucky One," starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, is the most prominent new title scheduled to hit theaters and PG-13 comedy "Think Like a Man" is also getting launched, though both look to have a limited audience to appeal to. The box office should remain fairly slow until May 4th, when "The Avengers" kicks off a busy summer release schedule.

RTT Box Office Predictions for 4/13/12 - 4/15/12 (In Millions):

1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate): $18

2. The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate): $15

3. The Three Stooges (Fox): $11

4. American Reunion (Universal): $10

5. Lockout (FilmDistrict): $9

6. Titanic 3D (Paramount): $8

7. Wrath of the Titans (Warner Brothers): $7

8. Mirror Mirror (Relativity): $6

9. 21 Jump Street (Sony/Columbia): $5.5

10. The Raid: Redemption (Sony Classics): $3.5

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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