Hunger Games fights off Titanic 3D
Los Angeles - Movie sensation The Hunger Games survived fresh competition from the Titanic and the gross-out American Pie gang to notch its third domestic box office win over the weekend.
The Hunger Games took in $33.5m at US and Canadian theatres from Friday through Sunday and lifted its domestic sales through three weekends to $302.8m, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
'Great word of mouth'
The Easter weekend receipts for The Hunger Games topped American Reunion, a sequel to one of film's biggest comedy franchises, and a 3D remake of Titanic timed for the anniversary of the ship's sinking. It was the third straight box office win for The Hunger Games.
The Lions Gate movie about teens forced to fight to the death stormed into theaters on March 23 with a staggering domestic take of $152.5m, the third-biggest weekend debut and the highest for a non-sequel.
Fan fever, plus a lack of big competitors at multiplexes, has kept The Hunger Games hot, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com.
"Great word of mouth, coupled with a release date that has given it a pretty open playing field, has allowed the film to effectively dominate the marketplace," he said.
The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the skilled archer and heroine of the post-apocalyptic story based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling young adult novel.
In second place for the weekend, American Reunion met studio forecasts by ringing up $21.5m in the United States and Canada. International sales added $19.3m, for a global total of $40.8m.
Reunion is the fourth movie in the American Pie franchise that kicked off 13 years ago with a pack of high-schoolers out to lose their virginity before graduation.
The original film, famous for a scene in which a pie is used to simulate sex, spawned two big-screen sequels and helped lead the way for future raunchy adult comedies. The first three Pie films grossed more than $750m around the world.
In the new movie, the friends played by actors including Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott and Alyson Hannigan come together for a wild high-school reunion.
Exit polls showed 61 percent of Reunion filmgoers were older than 25, suggesting that it drew heavily from fans of the previous movies. Audiences gave the movie a B+ grade in polling by survey firm CinemaScore.
Titanic sailed back into cinemas on Wednesday with a 3D makeover and grossed an estimated $61.2m around the world through Sunday. Of that total, $17.4m came from domestic Friday-through-Sunday sales, placing the movie in third place on North American charts and meeting studio forecasts.
The original 1997 Titanic, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as young lovers on the doomed ship, was a movie phenomenon that led domestic box office charts for 15 weeks. It earned more than $1.8bn at cinemas, the second-highest total for any film.
Partners 20th Century Fox and Paramount spent $18m on the 3D conversion, which was released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking on April 15, 1912.
Rounding out the top five, 3D action sequel Wrath of the Titans rung up $15m domestically. The movie had bigger sales overseas, where it pulled in $43m and helped lift the global total after two weekends to $211.4m.
Snow White story Mirror Mirror took in $11m, landing in fifth place. The family film has grossed $36.5m domestically since opening last weekend.
Wrath of the Titans was directed by South African Jonathan Liebesman.