“The Hunger Games” had another strong weekend at the box office, strong enough to easily crush fresh competition from both “Wrath of the Titans” and “Mirror, Mirror.” Yes, for those who had not already leapt to this conclusion, it appears that Katniss Everdeen is more popular than Snow White, or at least the Lily Collins version of the raven-haired Evil Queen rival.
“The Hunger Games” earned $61.1 million at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates posted by Box Office Mojo. That brings its total haul in North America to $251 million, making it far and away the top grosser of 2012 so far and surpassing the success of the first film in the series to which it’s often compared: “Twilight.”
That $251 million is greater than the $192.7 million brought in by the first Bella Swan movie and awfully close to the $281.8 million earned by the most recent entry in the vampire/werewolf/baby imprinting franchise, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.” (For the record, the “Hunger Games” total also exceeds the non-inflation-adjusted box office total for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”)
Getting back to the results of this weekend’s ticket sales, “Wrath of the Titans” opened in second place with $34.2 million, far less than its predecessor, “Clash of the Titans,” earned when it opened on this same weekend in 2010. (The original’s Kraken release resulted in a $61.2 million debut.)
“Mirror, Mirror” landed in third with $19 million, marking yet another less than spectacular opening for a Julia Roberts movie. “Mirror, Mirror” made more than last year’s “Larry Crowne” ($13 million) did during its first week of release, but slightly less than the Roberts vehicle “Eat Pray Love” ($23 million) during its August 2010 opening weekend. Mixed reviews and the distraction of Katniss Everdeen’s archery skills clearly didn’t do this Snow White adaptation any favors, which is good news for Universal. That studio now has a much lower box office and critical bar to leap over when its “Snow White and the Huntsman” opens in June.
In other weekend box office news, the largest per-screen average belonged to “Bully,” the documentary much discussed for its unflinching look at the evil teens do as well as its MPAA rating. The film rolled out on just five screens and made $115,000, which translated to a $23,000 per-screen average. (For comparison’s sake, “The Hunger Games” generated $14,769 on each screen but was showing in 4,137 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.)
“Bully” will open in wider release April 13.