‘Hunger’ wins weekend with $33.5 mil

Lionsgate pic surpasses $300 mil mark Stateside; 'Titanic' strong o'seas

“The Hunger Games” keeps laying golden eggs for Lionsgate, as it won the three-day Easter weekend with $33.5 million, its third straight domestic B.O. win, to cross the $300 million mark, while “Wrath of the Titans” stood fast at No. 1 overseas.

“Titanic” 3D steamed to a strong $35.5 million internationally at 84 day-and-date countries via Fox Intl. but drifted below domestic estimates of up to $30 million, charting at $25.7 million in five days.

“Hunger Games,” which collected another $25.5 million overseas for a cume of $157.1 million, fell only 43% from last weekend domestically. Pic beat out a pair of new entries: Universal’s “American Reunion” was No. 2 with $21.5 million, followed by “Titanic” 3D, which Paramount released in the U.S.

A modest $50 million budget positions “American Reunion” profitably thanks in large part to a solid overseas launch of $19.3 million from 28 territories — a series best, and 60% bigger than the overseas bow of U’s hit laffer “Bridesmaids.”

“Titanic” 3D also should turna tidy profit: The conversion cost $18 million (on the high side of conversion budgets) with a limited marketing spend.

Bizzers project that Stateside weekend totals were slightly north of $130 million, about in line with last year’s holiday frame, when Fox’s “Rio” won with $26 million in its soph sesh.

Weekend B.O. has been a bit top-heavy lately, as some pics in the top 10’s lower half have made the cut with less than $1 million. That’s mostly because films like “Hunger Games,” along with newer titles, continue to dominate the majority of aud interest.

Several specialty players have managed to score healthy runs so far.

The Weinstein Co.’s “Bully” tallied an estimated per-screen average of $12,464 in its second frame from six locations (one up from last weekend). The film expands Friday to 55 new markets with its revised PG-13 rating, which should help bookings in smaller markets, as well as encourage more group sales. “Bully” has cumed just north of $235,000 domestically.

Sony Pictures Classics, meanwhile, debuted Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress,” which averaged $16,050 from four engagements; Sundance Selects’ Italian pic “We Have a Pope” opened with an estimated per-screen average of $10,500 from three.

Easter demo derby

“Titanic” grossed 60% of its opening from women, who gave the pic an A+ rating vs. its overall A; “American Reunion,” which received a B+ CinemaScore rating, was evenly split between the genders.

The new entries also were split among age demos: “Titanic” was fairly evenly split between over and under-25s, while “Reunion” scored 61% of its bow from auds over 25. “Titanic” attracted a much older audience than during its initial theatrical run, since many repeat viewers grew up with the pic.

“From a business perspective, it is a great result,” said Par marketing and distribution topper Megan Colligan.

Colligan said also that Imax and other large-format houses added significant value to the pic’s 3D relaunch. Imax alone contributed $2 million of the film’s five-day take at fewer than 80 locations, averaging approximately $25,000 per screen. What’s more, nine of the pic’s top 10 theaters were Imax.

“Titanic” 3D will continue to play theatrically. And while Colligan said she doesn’t expect the 3D version to have the same legs as the original (“Titanic” holds the record for the most consecutive weekends at No. 1 with 15), she said the 3D redo should hold well in repeat frames.

Aside from “Titanic,” the weekend’s crop of family fare saw decent results, led by Relativity Media’s “Mirror Mirror,” which dropped just 39% in its second frame for an estimated $11 million. Universal’s “The Lorax,” in its sixth Stateside outing, dropped 36% for a gross of $5 million. “Mirror Mirror” has cumed $36.5 million domestically; “Lorax” approaches the $200 million mark.

The holiday players, especially family films and “Hunger Games,” benefited from Good Friday holiday auds, with 82% of K-12 students out of school that day.

O’seas holiday bump

Warner’s “Wrath of the Titans,” down a mere 43% from its opening weekend offshore, lifted its international cume to $152.5 million. “Wrath” is playing in 60 markets on more than 13,500 screens, with only Japan yet to go.

“Titanic” did best in Russia, where it earned just shy of $5 million — a close second to “American Reunion,” which tallied $5.1 million locally.

The Universal laffer also opened at No. 1 in Australia, with $5 million, followed by Mexico, where the film grossed an estimated $1.6 million. “We knew that this film would be a worldwide success, and it has been,” said U distribution exec Nikki Rocco.

“American Pie 2” currently stands as the franchise’s best global performer, with $287 million, split almost evenly between international and domestic. “Reunion” could feasibly cross the $200 million global mark, based on the film’s opening performance.

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