Box office preview: 'Wrath of the Titans' and 'Mirror Mirror' step into the arena with 'The Hunger Games'

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Image Credit: Murray Close

In its first six days in theaters, The Hunger Games has amassed over $181 million, and this weekend, it’s not likely that phenomenon is slowing down. Despite new competition from 3-D sequel Wrath of the Titans and family-friendly Show White tale Mirror Mirror, The Hunger Games is all but guaranteed another frame atop the chart. Here’s how the Top 5 might shake out:

1. The Hunger Games – $70 million

After a remarkable first week in theaters, which kicked off with the third-best opening of all time ($152.2 million), and the best start ever for a non-sequel, Katniss and company will maintain their perch in the sophomore frame. While drops well above 50 percent are typical for giant tentpoles like Games, it’s very likely that the film will face a smaller decline than other frontloaded sequels like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, which dropped by 70 percent in its second weekend. 

Granted, The Hunger Games will fall by a substantial amount (I’d guess around 50-55 percent), but it will likely notch another $70 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, lifting its 10-day total to $260 million. There’s an outside shot that the film could attain the record for the highest ever second weekend if it holds better than expected. Avatar currently holds that crown with $75.6 million.

2. Wrath of the Titans – $36 million

In 2010, Clash of the Titans opened to a strong $61.2 million and ended up earning $493 million worldwide ($163.2 million domestically), so in theory, it makes sense that Warner Bros. would push a sequel, Wrath of the Titans, into production. But unless international box office is utterly titanic, there’s simply no way that Wrath, which cost a reported $150 million, will be able to achieve those numbers.

Not many audiences left the theater after seeing Clash feeling particularly excited about the franchise. The film featured a messy story, silly dialogue, and widely panned special effects (including some seriously shoddy 3-D), and it hardly seemed like a sturdy, series-launching vehicle. While Wrath is earning better reviews and garnering more enthusiastic responses for its special effects, its likely that many moviegoers won’t give Perseus (Sam Worthington) and the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus a second chance. Earlier this year, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance opened far below the original Ghost Rider, and with the added competition of The Hunger Games, I’d expect the drop-off to be even more drastic. Playing in 3,545 theaters, Wrath may gross $36 million this weekend.

3. Mirror Mirror – $27 million

When the first trailers for Snow White retelling Mirror Mirror arrived online in November, the film, which stars Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, and Armie Hammer, looked like a slapped-together box office disaster. Fortunately, Relativity quickly turned their marketing campaign around, boosted the comedy-factor in their advertising, and effectively honed in on their target audience of young children and families. After a while, the Tarsem Singh-directed fairy tale, which cost about $85 million to produce, no longer looked like a shameless attempt at beating Snow White and the Hunstman into theaters, but instead like a mid-level box office contender.

Mirror Mirror will benefit from being the first family film since The Lorax to hit theaters. Parents too squeasmish to bring their young tots to The Hunger Games will find solace in the PG-charms of the cutesy princess tale. Out in a substantial 3,603 theaters, Mirror Mirror won’t likely be fairest of them all, but it may score third place with about $27 million.

4. 21 Jump Street – $13 million

The R-rated comedy, now in its third weekend, may dip by about 40 percent as Wrath of the Titans cuts into its core male demographic. Still a $13 million weekend would push the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum buddy comedy past the $90 million mark.

5. The Lorax – $7.5 million

Don’t worry, Mr. Lorax. Just because The Hunger Games surpassed you as the highest-grossing film of 2012 doesn’t make your stellar box office run any less impressive. The Dr. Seuss tale may gross another $7.5 million this weekend as it continues its run to $200 million.

In extremely limited release, buzzy documentary Bully will be released in 5 theaters this weekend with no rating after an extended kerfuffle with the MPAA. We’ll have all the details on its performance in Sunday’s box office report.

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Read more:
Will ‘The Hunger Games’ be the highest grossing film of 2012?


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