‘The Hunger Games’ Was No. 3 — Not No. 4 — at the Weekend Box Office

The actuals are in, and The Five-Year Engagement did even worse than originally thought.

On top of that, the actuals show at The Hunger Games was the No. 3 movie in America over the weekend. Estimates on Sunday had Hunger Games at No. 4 and The Lucky One at No. 3. As it turns out, Lucky One was No. 4.

Actuals show that "The Five Year Engagement" had an even worse box-office weekend than originally imagined

Five-Year, Universal’s R-rated comedy, took only $10.6 million in its debut weekend — about a half-million dollars less than the studio estimated on Sunday. Before the movie was released, many box-office watchers figured it would open to something in the $20 million range,

That’s a big “ouch” for a movie that cost about $30 million to make.

Meanwhile, studio estimates for The Lucky One

But don’t weep for Universal — at least not too much.

The studio’s next two movies are looking awfully good — or at least awfully profitable.

Battleship opens domestically on May 18, and already has grossed $170 million internationally.

And Snow White and the Huntsman, which looks very, very cool, opens on June 2. Expect Battleship to open in the $50 million neighborhood, and SWATH to open to around $60 million.

SWATH actually has visuals that looks so compelling, and such an impressive cast, it could do well better than that.

The Five-Year Engagement, though, surprised many box-office watchers by underperforming.

Now, we’re learning its underperformance was worse than imagined.

As it turns out, the actuals on all of the weekend’s top six movies did worse than studio estimates.

No. 1 Think Like a Man took $17.6 million, rather than $18 million.
No. 2 The Pirates! Band of Misfits took $11.1 million, rather than $11.4 million
No. 3 The Hunger Games took $10.81 million, rather than $11.25 million
No. 4 The Lucky One took $10.8 million, rather than $11.3 million
No. 5 The Five-Year Engagement took $10.6 million, rather than $11.1 million
No. 6 Safe took $7.7 million, rather than $7.9 million.

The estimate for No. 7 The Raven was on target, at $7.3 million.

The next two estimates were a touch off:

No. 8 Chimpanzee took $5.2 million, rather than $5.5 million.
No. 9 The Three Stooges took $5.2 million, rather than $5.4 million.

The No. 10 movie at the weekend box office, Cabin in the Woods, took $4.6 million, rather than the estimated $4.5 million.

– Joshua L. Weinstein

‘Think Like a Man’ Another Big Winner for Screen Gems

Screen Gems is on a winning streak.

For the second week in a row, its Think Like a Man is the No. 1 movie in America. The movie, made for about $12 million, has now grossed more than $60 million.

"Think Like a Man," made for $12 million, has grossed more than $60 million

It’s the third Screen Gems movie released this year — and the third to debut at No. 1.

The first, the R-rated Underworld Awakening, was released Jan. 20, and opened to $25.3 million. The movie, made for about $70 million, has grossed $160.1 million worldwide.

The second, The Vow, was the runaway hit of Valentine’s Day. The plot is preposterous: a woman awakens from coma with amnesia, and learns that she is married to a guy played by Channing Tatum. Instead of yelling, “Yesssss!” she resists the idea that he’s actually her husband.

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star in "The Vow," which grossed $182 million at the worldwide box office

Despite that, the movie did great. The PG-13 movie cost about $30 million to make, opened to $41.2 million and now has a worldwide total of $182 million.

Now, there’s Think Like a Man. The PG-13 movie is about a group of people who learn that their girlfriends are manipulating them by following advice they found in Steve Harvey’s real-life relationship advice book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. The men use the knowledge to get even.

The movie, targeted at African Americans, is drawing a broad audience. Because it’s well-done, it has likable characters and it’s funny.

Next up for Screen Gems: Resident Evil: Retribution. The R-rated movie, the fourth in the Resident Evil franchise, opens Sept. 14. Considering that the last film in the popular series, the 2010 Resident Evil: Afterlife opened to No. 1 in September 2010, expect this one to do pretty well.

"Resident Evil: Retribution" is Screen Gems' next release, opening Sept. 14

All the success shows that the label’s president, Clint Culpepper, knows what he’s doing.

He’s run Screen Gems since 1998, and has consistently shown that he knows how to make modestly priced movies — and make them succeed at the box office. The formula of horror movies and urban comedies has delivered for him.

Culpepper’s not a guy to crow about his successes, but his string of wins deserves some recognition.

(Corporate parent Sony, incidentally, is enjoying the strong year as well, and has a killer slate that includes MIB3, The Amazing Spider-Man, and the comedy That’s My Boy all three of which look like ridiculous fun. The studio’s Total Recall remake also is sure to generate some significant interest, and the Meryl Streep-Tommy Lee Jones Hope Springs looks charming.)

– Joshua L. Weinstein

What Movie Will You See This Week?

There are four wide releases hitting theaters this weekend, and they’re all pretty diverse. There’s romcom The Five Year Engagement starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, The Raven, based on the life of horror writer Edgar Allan Poe starring John Cusak, actioner SAFE starring Jason Statham, and animated family comedy The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

The Raven is leading the pack according to NRG’s box office tracking data, but not by much. 66% of audiences are aware of the film, and 32% want to see it. 5% list it as their first choice for the weekend. The Five Year Engagement isn’t far behind. 67% of moviegoers are aware of the movie, and 27% are definitely interested in seeing it. 4% list it as their first choice, though that number skews higher – to 7% – among younger women.

Meanwhile, Safe and Pirates! are likely flops. The Jason Statham starrer has 44% total awareness, 33% definite interest, but only 2% first choice – including no tracking among younger women in that category. Pirates! is at 56% awareness, 19% definite interest, and only 1% first choice.

 

Check out the trailers for all four films below. What do you think you’ll see this weekend?

– Cindy Kaplan