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'The Hunger Games' Tops Box Office Again, Holds Off 'The Three Stooges'


Even closing in on a month in theaters, "The Hunger Games" continued to rake in the box office revenue over the weekend by bringing in a studio estimated $21.50 million, enough to top the charts and push its domestic total to an eye-popping $337 million domestically. Meanwhile, PG "The Three Stooges" opened as the number two overall draw with $17.10 million, and horror-comedy "The Cabin in the Woods" hauled in a fairly strong $14.85 million at just over 2,800 total venues. Sci-fi thriller "Lockout" didn't fare nearly as well, though, as the FilmDistrict distribution managed just $6.25 million in opening revenue and looks to be headed out of the top ten fairly shortly.

Despite three new releases, there was simply no slowing down "The Hunger Games" in its fourth weekend in theaters. "Hunger Games" dipped just 35% from last weekend and still boasted the top per theater average out of all the releases in the top ten, continuing the incredible success for the Lionsgate distribution. Though "The Hunger Games" was expected to put up similar domestic numbers as the "Twilight" series, it has already easily surpassed all of the "Twilight" releases in U.S. revenue and appears to be steamrolling its way toward $400 million.

Backed by very strong critical support and the popularity of the book, "The Hunger Games" has also played well overseas, pushing it to $531 million worldwide. With a production budget of only $78 million, "The Hunger Games" will likely finish the year as the most profitable overall movie of 2012, though it probably won't be able to hold off "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Hobbit" to end up as the top overall earner.

As "The Hunger Games" continued its incredible box office run, PG comedy "The Three Stooges" looked to be in a difficult position heading into the weekend, but the Fox distribution managed to bring in enough of an audience to avoid being a box office dud. "Stooges" hauled in $17 million over the weekend on a so-so $4,918 per venue average, which is better than many anticipated even if it wasn't enough to make it a legitimate box office hit. With no family release slated to hit theaters this Friday, "Stooges" should manage a decent second weekend, though expectations are still limited moving forward.

A movie with stronger commercial potential over the next couple of weeks is "The Cabin in the Woods," an R-rated horror-comedy from writer Joss Whedon, the director of the upcoming blockbuster hopeful "The Avengers." With a rare Rotten Tomatoes rating over 90% and good audience marks as well, "Cabin in the Woods" should be able to retain a high percentage of its potential audience and could post some strong numbers over the next month as positive word-of-mouth spreads.

The same won't likely be true for "Lockout," a sci-fi thriller starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace that really struggled to find its target demographic over the weekend. "Lockout" managed just $6.25 million in opening revenue on a sub-par per theater average of $2,708, suggesting that there isn't much of an audience for the FilmDistrict release. With very weak opening numbers and poor critical marks to boot, it will be hard for "Lockout" to gather much steam in the coming weeks and it should fall well out of the top ten by the end of next weekend.

While some of the new releases struggled to find an audience, "Titanic 3D" seems to have settled in and is starting to pile up some big overall numbers. "Titanic" slipped just 32.7% from its opening weekend and is now up to $44 million domestically, a very strong total considering it cost just $18 million for the 3D conversion. With some huge overseas numbers as well, James Cameron continues to solidify himself as the director with the most box office clout on the planet and "Titanic 3D" should roll for at least a few more weeks both in the U.S. and abroad.

Next week, the box office looks to be in line for another slow weekend without a major release 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.

Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 4/13/12 - 4/15/12 (In Millions), [RTT Predictions]:

1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate): $21.50 [$18]

2. The Three Stooges (Fox): $17.10 [$11]

3. The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate): $14.85 [$15]

4. Titanic 3D (Paramount): $11.63 [$8]

5. American Reunion (Universal): $10.70 [$10]

6. Mirror Mirror (Relativity): $7 [$6]

7. Wrath of the Titans (Warner Brothers): $6.91 [$7]

8. 21 Jump Street (Sony/Columbia): $6.80 [$5.5]

9. Lockout (FilmDistrict): $6.25 [$9]

10. The Lorax (Universal): $3.02 [N/A]

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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