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‘Hunger Games’ feeds fan cravings with second box office win

Fans Adam La Brie (left) and Emily Joe wait in line for the midnight screening of “TheHunger Games” during opening night at Regal Cinemas in Los Angeles on March 22, 2012. — Reuters picFans Adam La Brie (left) and Emily Joe wait in line for the midnight screening of “TheHunger Games” during opening night at Regal Cinemas in Los Angeles on March 22, 2012. — Reuters picLOS ANGELES, April 2 — Filmgoers brought big appetites for “The Hunger Games” to box offices over the weekend as the blockbuster movie added US$95.9 million (RM292.49 million) in global ticket sales and pushed the worldwide total since its record-setting debut to US$365 million.

The Lions Gate Entertainment movie about teenagers forced into a deadly survival match ranked No. 1 for the second straight weekend on domestic charts.

Ticket sales in the United States and Canada reached an estimated US$61.1 million from Friday through yesterday, according to studio estimates.

At international theatres, “Hunger Games” pulled in US$34.8 million over the weekend. The massive worldwide total since the movie’s release 10 days ago reached US$364.9 million.

The film dropped 60 per cent domestically from its huge opening a week ago. The decline is consistent with the performances of other big film franchises such as “Twilight” and “Harry Potter,” said David Spitz, executive vice president of domestic distribution for Lions Gate Entertainment.

“That shows the staying power of the film. Word of mouth is clearly taking hold,” Spitz said.

The movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen, opened last weekend with US$152.5 million, the third-highest domestic debut and biggest for a non-sequel.

The second-weekend domestic tally ranked seventh-highest among all movies, according to website Box Office Mojo.

Some of the business came from fans coming back for more. Exit polls showed 13 per cent of filmgoers this weekend were repeat customers.
Titans rule overseas.

The “Hunger Games” craze easily beat two new films at domestic theatres.

Action sequel “Wrath of the Titans” landed in second place, grossing US$34.2 million in North America (the United States and Canada). The movie beat “Hunger Games” overseas, where it grabbed US$78 million from 60 countries and brought the global weekend total to US$112.2 million.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures paid about US$150 million to produce the movie.

The film starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes is a 3D sequel to Olympian epic “Clash of the Titans,” which debuted with US$61.2 million domestically in 2010 over the Easter weekend, boosted by students home from school on the opening Friday.

For the sequel, Warner Bros. opened the film a week earlier. The studio expects to benefit in the days ahead from school kids on vacation, said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Filmgoers under 25 rated the movie an “A-minus” in polling by Cinema Score.

Third place belonged to “Mirror Mirror,” a new family-oriented film starring Julia Roberts as the evil queen in a comedy-and-adventure twist on the classic Snow White fairy tale.

The film brought in US$19.0 million domestically, short of distributor Relativity Media’s projection for a low US$20-million opening. As with “Titans,” the studio hopes Easter vacations will help boost ticket sales for “Mirror Mirror” this coming week, said Kyle Davies, Relativity’s president of worldwide theatrical distribution. Girls under 18 gave the movie an “A” grade and boys awarded it an “A-minus” in Cinema Score polling.

Relativity produced “Mirror Mirror” for about US$85 million.
Rounding out the top five, adult comedy “21 Jump Street” hauled in US$15.0 million domestically, and animated family film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” grabbed US$8.0 million.

Also this weekend, the documentary “Bully” about children and families bullied at school earned US$115,000 at five theatres in New York and Los Angeles, or a per-screen average of US$23,000. 

The Weinstein Co. movie was released without a rating after the studio objected to the “R” from a US movie industry group for language, saying it would keep many kids from seeing the film.

Bully” will expand to about 100 theatres in roughly 50 markets on April 13, said Erik Lomis, president of distribution for The Weinstein Co.

Wrath of the Titans” was released by Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros. Privately held Relativity Media distributed “Mirror Mirror” in theUnited States, and Alliance.

Films released the movie in Canada. The movie division of Sony Corp released “21 Jump Street,” andComcast Corp’s Universal Pictures distributed “The Lorax.” — Reuters

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