Well, it looks like we have an answer to the question of whether or not audiences are interested in a historical, racially charged baseball movie. Brian Helgeland's '42' opened at the top of the box office this weekend, instantly breaking the record for biggest opening for a baseball movie. Sure, it's a minor record to break, but a record is a record.
Like any holiday that sees families congregating together and then desperately seeking activities where they don't have to talk to each other for two hours, this Easter weekend saw a strong bump at the box office thanks to a few new contenders and a handful of holdovers with some surprising staying power.
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.