You can't imagine two films more different than 'The Croods' and 'Olympus Has Fallen,' but right now the two of them sit on top of the box office chart, both temporarily linked by the fact that a bunch of people apparently wanted to see them this weekend. It's the first time in forever that two films have opened to over $30 million at the same time...but it wasn't golden for all of the new releases.
Here's a little perspective for you on this slow news day: Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises' sold 12 million fewer tickets than Tim Burton's 'Batman,' released in 1989. Are fewer people heading to the theater these days? It's hard to believe more people were excited for Burton's film than Nolan's.
We knew it was going to make a lot of money. We knew there was a possibility that it would break box office records. What we didn't know was that 'The Avengers' wasn't just going to break the record for biggest box office opening of all time -- it was going to smash it. Obliterate it. Pulverize it. Treat it like the Hulk treats puny human architecture. In three days, 'The Avengers' took in over $200 million at the domestic box office.
For the third week in a row, the odds remained firmly in the favor of 'The Hunger Games,' which stayed number one at the box office and made crossing the coveted $300 million mark look as easy as snapping a child's neck in a man-made arena for an audience of millions. If watching the box office is to movie fans what performance stats are to sports fans, we can safely call 'The Hunger Games' a star athlete. With little blockbuster competition standing in its way until 'The Avengers' hits on May 4, $400 million is looking more and more likely.
Would it be lazy to open this edition of the Weekend Box Office Report with some kind of joke about the wily huntress Katniss Everdeen besting the mighty demigod Perseus in a battle to the death? Possibly. Probably. Still, the numbers don't lie: 'The Hunger Games' made $61 million dollars over the weekend, bringing its two week total to just over $250 million. That sophomore week gross is almost identical to what 'Clash of the Titans' debuted to back in 2010, making 'Wrath of the Titans'' $34 million opening look all the more embarrassing.
1. The Hunger Games: $155,000,000 ($155,000,000)
2. 21 Jump Street: $21,300,000 ($71,051,000)
3. Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: $13,100,000 ($177,300,000)
4. John Carter: $5,014,000 ($62,347,000)
5. Act of Valor: $2,062,000 ($65,942,000)
6. Project X: $1,950,000 ($51,752,000)
7. A Thousand Words: $1,925,000 ($14,926,000)
8. October Baby: $1,718,000 ($1,718,000)
9. Safe House: $1,400,000 ($122,600,000)
10. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: $1,373,000 ($97,155,000)
There's a big box office opening and then there's a Big box office opening. Gary Ross' adaptation of Suzanne 'The Hunger Games' opened big. That $155,000,000 weekend is the third biggest opening of all time, right under 'The Dark Knight' ($158,000,000) and 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II' ($169,000,000). Lionsgate was never shy about attempting to position Suzanne Collins' sci-fi young adult series as the next 'Harry Potter' or 'Twilight' and, well, it looks like they've succeeded with flying colors.
Even before the final numbers are in, Disney has announced that 'John Carter' has cost them $200 Million dollars. The production, which has a listed budget of $250 million, had become a whipping boy months before release when the marketing didn't suggest the huge blockbuster that a quarter of a billion dollar production would normally promise. Now, Disney is writing the film off as a loss.
Audiences have proven in the past that they'll flock to film remakes of beloved (and on occasion, not so beloved) television shows. The huge opening weekend of '21 Jump Street' proves something that's just plain satisfying to know: they'll also flock to film remakes of beloved television shows that happen to actually be, well, good. Actually, it's the only film in the top ten this week with a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (86%, if you were wondering).
It's okay to be blunt about this one: unless there's a remarkable surge in word of mouth and audiences return to give it a strong second week, it's safe to call the 'John Carter' $30,603,000 opening disastrous. For a movie this expensive (a reported $250 million, but probably more), Disney needed that opening gross to start with a seven, not a three.
A look at the Top 10 Movies this weekend plus more analysis below: