The Hunger Games has proved to be a bigger feast for Lionsgate than anyone had expected. While many analysts had predicted that the film would turn out to be a solid hit for the so-called minimajor, no one had imaged that after three weekends its total would reach $460 million worldwide, heading for the half-billion mark by next weekend. Much credit is being handed out to the studio's marketers for effective use of TV spots and trailers to lure moviegoers to the theater. And the end of the movie would appear to set up intense anticipation for the first sequel, Catching Fire, which is due to begin filming in August. (Thousands -- perhaps millions -- of fans are not waiting to find out what happens next. Suzanne Collins's trilogy currently holds the top three spots on the fiction best-seller lists. Scholastic, the publisher, says that 36.5 million copies of the series are in print in the U.S., with no plans at present for a paperback version.) In North America, the tally for the movie after three weekends stands at $302.5 million following last weekend's haul of $33.1 million. That figure also helped push the box office well past its anemic numbers for the same period a year ago, when Universal's Hop led with $21.3 million. Going into the first week of the second quarter, total box-office revenue for the year is up 20 percent, while attendance is up 23 percent. Those statistics suggest that more people are going to the movies but paying less to see them. The apparent explanation is that they are avoiding 3D screenings with their inherent surcharges. That might also help explain the huge fall-off in attendance for Titanic over the weekend. While the movie earned $7.1 million on Friday, it dropped to $3.5 million by Sunday. It could only be seen in 3D.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date) 1. The Hunger Games, Lionsgate, $3311557, 3 Wks. ($3045722); 2. American Reunion, Universal, $21,514,080, (New); 3. Titanic 3D , Paramount, $17,285,453, 1 Wks. ($25,645,935 (From Wednesday); 4. Wrath of the Titans, Warner Bros., $14,732,121, 2 Wks. ($58,614,212); 5. Mirror Mirror, Relativity Media, $11,095,140, 2 Wks. ($36,773,242); 6. 21 Jump Street, Sony, $10,001,381, 4 Wks. ($109,413,763); 7. Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Universal, $5,030,025, 6 Wks. ($198,204,375); 8. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, CBS Films, $992,428, 5 Wks. ($4,656,429); 9. Houseful 2, Eros Int'l, $847,132, (New); 10. John Carter, Disney, $830,305, 5 Wks. ($67,983,652).