Almost three weeks into "The Hunger Games" 's run at the box office, two worthy competitors have stepped up to challenge the aging champion. "Titanic 3D" and "American Reunion" pose the first real threat to "The Hunger Games" and its reign as the top money maker of the weekend. "The Hunger Games" has, however, performed strongly all week and could very well earn a third straight victory.
We spoke with box-office experts to see where they think "The Hunger Games" will land come Monday and whether "Titanic 3D" or "American Reunion" could rule the weekend instead.
James Cameron's 3D conversion of "Titanic" got an early start on the competition with a Wednesday opening to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. Right out of the gate, "The Hunger Games" was keeping pace, winning the day by a little over $200,000. Then
Katniss went on to double Jack and Rose's earnings on Thursday. " 'Hunger Games' hasn't hit lean times at the box office by any stretch this week, easily taking the top spot through the week and averaging around $5 million," said Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst from Exhibitor Relations.
According to Phil Contrino from BoxOffice.com, the weekday competition between the two movies and the wins by "The Hunger Games" have spelled an early victory for Katniss and the other tributes, but he notes that the other competition shouldn't be counted out.
"I expect 'Titanic 3D' to surge during the weekend, but it looks like 'Hunger Games' will beat it now," Contrino said. "The dark horse here is 'American Reunion' -- it shouldn't be overlooked."
The "American Pie" series has always opened relatively strong. The first two films debuted with $45 million and $33 million, respectively, and to date, the series has totaled $352 million in the United States.
With the competition at the box office caught in such a tight race, Bock concluded that now, as always, it's just up to the audience. " 'Hunger Games' will likely three-peat, but 'American Reunion' may have the nostalgia factor going for it and also come close to $30 mil this weekend," he said. "I guess it depends if audiences are in the mood for apple pie or not."
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