'Hunger Games' could win fourth consecutive week at domestic B.O.
Bizzers are bracing for what could be one of the domestic B.O.’s slowest weekends so far this year, but international box office is expected to soar as Universal’s “Battleship” adds considerable muscle overseas.None of the three domestic wide openers — Fox’s “The Three Stooges,” Lionsgate’s “The Cabin in the Woods” and “Lockout,” which Open Road Films is distributing for FilmDistrict — are projected to breach the $20 million mark. So Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games,” which recently passed $300 million Stateside, could come out on top domestically for the fourth straight weekend, with a potential take in the high teens. That take is dependent on the pic dropping in the 45%-50% range. Among domestic newcomers, “Stooges” and “Cabin” likely will land in low-to-mid teens, while “Lockout” trails with a projected $6 million-$8 million debut. Overseas, “Battleship,” which doesn’t invade Stateside plexes until May 18, already collected an estimated $7.4 million during its opening day Wednesday. Pic bowed in 11 markets including previews; South Korea and the U.K. led the early charge, with $2.8 million and $1.5 million, respectively. It’s not surprising that “Battleship” opened strong overseas: The U tentpole is just the type of high-profile Hollywood fare that overseas moviegoers welcome. “Battleship” launches this weekend in a total 26 territories, before expanding next weekend to an additional 24 markets, including Russia and China. Aside from “Battleship,” major holdover tentpoles, such as Warner Bros.’ “Wrath of the Titans” and “Hunger Games,” are also helping charge the international marketplace. Both pics crossed $150 million internationally through last weekend. Weekend of March 16-18 is the years lowest-grossing Stateside frame (at $111 million total), despite “21 Jump Street” which overperformed with $36 million. But the weekend lacked support from the bottom up. Box office has been similarly top heavy of late, with several pics at the bottom of the top 10 chart grossing less than $1 million. That could happen again this weekend, though year to date box office still is ahead of last year by roughly 20%. Still, the frame’s entries each represent limited exposure financially. “Stooges” cost a reported $35 million, though Fox has been aggressive with the pic’s marketing campaign. The film is tracking strongest among men, though pundits admit it’s tough to gauge definite interest among the pic’s most hardcore fans. That’s because the Stooges were most popular in the mid-20th century. Fox’s PG-rated reboot, helmed by Bob and Peter Farrelly and starring Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos, could see a solid family turnout. Pic could also see a strong afterlife in ancillary markets. FilmDistrict, meanwhile, spent a limited amount to acquire “Lockout,” which EuropaCorp produced. Open Road is distributing for a fee; the film marks the first of several pics that Open Road will distribute domestically for FilmDistrict, after former distribution and marketing heads Bob and Jeanne Berney exited the company in November of last year. “Lockout” stars Guy Pearce as a wrongly accused ex-government agent, who is offered a pardon to rescue the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from an outer space prison. R-rated “Cabin in the Woods” could overperform if word-of-mouth takes hold; pic has been much better reviews than most scare fare. Pic, which was on the shelf is directed by Drew Goddard, who co-wrote the script along with Joss Whedon. At the specialty box office, the Weinstein Co. expands “Bully” to 158 locations (approximately 55 additional markets), looking to benefit from the film’s newly-granted PG-13 rating. The docu had been playing at only a handful of Stateside locations, with a cume nearing $270,000 through Wednesday. Roadside Attractions bows Steve Taylor’s comedy “Blue Like Jazz” at 136 locations. Pic, about a junior college student who relocates from the Bible Belt to the Pacific Northwest, stars Marshall Allman (“True Blood”) and Claire Holt (“The Vampire Diaries”).