'Games' wins Stateside; Warner sequel tops o'seas

Lionsgate’s B.O. juggernaut “The Hunger Games” won the domestic box office again, with an estimated $61.1 million. But Warner Bros.’ 3D sequel “Wrath of the Titans” ruled the world, debuting to an estimated global take of $112.2 million, of which $78 million came from 60 overseas markets.

“Hunger Games” nabbed $95.5 million worldwide (including $34.8 million internationally), pushing its global cume to $364.9 million in just 10 days.

According to estimates, “Hunger Games” beat out “Wrath” in a number of key overseas markets, as well as in the U.S., where “Wrath” debuted at No. 2 with $34.2 million.

Domestic weekend totals outstripped the same frame last year by about 24%. But more impressive is that 2012 year-to-date box office has amassed a 20% lead ahead of 2011, with Stateside admissions also up 23% over last year.

“Wrath,” the sequel to 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” from Warners and Legendary Pictures, came in slightly under domestic pre-weekend projections, which had pegged the film to hit at least in the high $30 millions. Relativity Media’s debut title “Mirror Mirror,” which collected an estimated $19 million, also bowed to less than its projected low-to-mid $20 millions range.

“Wrath” tallied a respectable 65% of its opening from 3D (at approximately 2,900 3D locations), including 14% from 292 additional Imax runs.

With a limited dropoff of just 60%, the all-audience “Hunger Games” drew away auds from both debut titles as the Lionsgate pic continues to broaden demographically. “Wrath” attracted a mostly over-25 male crowd, while “Mirror” primarily targeted families.

“Quite frankly, going into the weekend we thought the drop would be much higher,” said Lionsgate exec VP of distribution David Spitz said of “Hunger Games,” which lost all of its Imax locations to “Wrath.” “But there is a percentage of repeat customers (for ‘Hunger’), and we are definitely starting to pick up more older males.”

In limited release, the Weinstein Co.’s unrated docu “Bully” averaged a solid $23,000 from five locations. The centerpiece of a highly publicized ratings tussle, “Bully” drew an estimated $115,000 through Sunday. Pic expands April 13 into 50 U.S. markets, with upwards of 125 locations.

CBS Films’ “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” landed in the top 10 for the first time this weekend thanks to a significant domestic push: The film logged an estimated $1.3 million at 483 locations (up from 124), bringing Stateside cume to just shy of $3.2 million.

Early hop on Easter B.O.

Even though bizzers long expected “Hunger Games” to dominate beyond its opening frame, distribution execs at Warner and Relativity both said they were confident in launching their horses this weekend.

With many kids out of school all week, the family-targeted “Mirror Mirror” in particular will benefit from the Easter frame. “Wrath” should continue to draw fanboys; the film scored an A- CinemaScore from under-25 auds, which repped a sizable 44% of the pic’s opening aud. Both wide releases received B+ ratings.

Warners domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman compared the “Wrath” launch strategy to that for the studio’s “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” which bowed the week before Christmas 2011 and ultimately outgrossed its predecessor globally.

“We felt we had a better movie and wanted to build word of mouth,” Fellman said, comparing “Wrath” to “Clash.” “Now, we’re going into the holiday with a substantial amount of money in the bank.”

Relativity distribution exec Kyle Davies echoed those sentiments with regard to “Mirror Mirror,” saying, “We always knew this was a positioning play going into the Easter holiday. Any time you have a family film, your approach becomes a long-lead strategy,” he added.

Relativity reported that 60% of the opening aud for “Mirror” came from families, consisting mostly of moms with girls under 12. Hispanic auds represented a significant portion of the pic’s opening, with 20%.

“Mirror” shouldn’t have difficulty recouping, since Relativity is exposed for less than $30 million of the film’s $85 million production budget, after foreign pre-sales, tax rebates (pic was shot in Montreal) and a Netflix deal. Warner Bros., meanwhile, spent roughly the same on “Wrath” as it did for “Clash,” at around $125 million not including marketing.

Ultimately, “Wrath” should see fine profits thanks in large part to its potential offshore playability.

So far the sequel’s top territory is Russia, where it earned an estimated $14 million — or 18% of the country’s total weekend market share. Mexico contributed $5 million, followed by Brazil and the U.K. with $3.9 million and $3.5 million, respectively. (China is projected to have contributed No. 1 results for “Wrath,” though Warners said local figures won’t be available until mid-week.)

“Wrath of the Titans” lost to “Hunger Games” in the major English-speaking territories, however. Australia, for instance, contributed $5.1 million for the latter pic, more than doubling “Wrath’s” debut haul, while auds in Blighty shelled out another $4.3 million for “Hunger” for a local cume of $15 million. In Oz, “Hunger” has totaled $17 million.

The Weekend Top 10

Title (weeks in release)3-day gross*Engmts.$ per

engagementCume*%

change1.The Hunger Games (2)61.14,13714,769251.0-602.Wrath of the Titans (1)34.23,5459,64734.2–3.Mirror Mirror (1)19.03,6035,27319.0–4.21 Jump Street (3)15.03,1484,76593.1-275.The Lorax (5)8.03,2642,455189.6-396.John Carter (4)2.02,39783666.2-617.Salmon Fishing … (4)1.34832,6383.2+818.Act of Valor (6)1.01,23981267.7-519.A Thousand Words (4)0.91,00790916.5-5310.Journey 2 … (8)0.890892098.5-39*in millions of $ – Source: Rentrak

Overseas Top 5

Title (weeks in release)Weekend gross*TerritoriesScreensInt’l cume*World cume*%

change1.Wrath of the Titans (1)78.06014,10078.0112.2–2.The Hunger Games (2)34.8687,710113.9364.9-413.The Lorax (5)14.5434,10037.7227.3+1764.Pirates! … Misfits (1)7.8122,7497.87.8–5.The Best Exotic … (6)6.2271,93243.843.8-7*in millions of $ – Source: Rentrak

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