Kate Winslet Rose Titanic 3D
Kate Winslet as Rose, Titanic 3D

The Hunger Games will easily top the North American box for the third weekend in a row. Gary Ross’ dystopic adventure tale collected $12.9 million on Friday, April 6, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. The film will likely earn somewhere between $35-$40 million over the Easter weekend. If so, it will be down around 30-35 percent compared to a week ago — or about half its 62 percent drop-off rate last (non-holiday) weekend. The Hunger Games should cross the $300 million mark at the domestic box office on Sunday. Its current total is $282.23 million.

Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s American Reunion landed at no. 2 on Friday. At 3,192 locations, the R-rated comedy took in $9.2 million — including $660,000 earned at Thursday midnight screenings. Its weekend total could reach $25 million.

If those estimates are correct, Universal will claim that American Reunion far surpassed the $18.7 million earned by the original American Pie at 2,508 sites in 1999. In 2012 dollars, however, American Pie would have earned approximately $29 million — what that means is: more ticket were sold.

Also bear in mind that, even while ignoring marketing / distribution expenses, American Reunion cost a reported $50 million, whereas American Pie cost $11 million — or about $15 million in 2012 dollars. The 1999 comedy was directed by Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz (later of The Twilight Saga: New Moon fame and more recently the director of A Better Life, starring Oscar nominee Demián Bichir).

At no. 3, the top movie of the late 20th century, James Cameron’s Titanic 3D, managed to collect $7.14 million at 2,674 locations. Despite 3D surcharges, Titanic’s per-theater average was lower than American Reunion’s: $2,670 vs. $2,882. Remember that all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters the higher the per-theater average should be. American Reunion is playing at about 500 more sites than Titanic 3D. But then again, one must also bear in mind that Titanic opened on a Wednesday, thus blowing off some box office steam prior to Friday.

Some had been expecting that Titanic 3D would rake in $30 million in its first five days. Barring a major surge on Saturday, that seems unlikely, though Titanic will probably get close to that figure. Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment have reportedly spent 60 weeks and $18 million on Titanic’s full restoration and 2D-to-3D conversion. (Remember, studios get on average about 50-55 percent of a film’s domestic box office grosses.)

Gary Ross co-wrote The Hunger Games’ screenplay with author Suzanne Collins and Breach / State of Play / Captain Phillips screenwriter Billy Ray. The film stars Winter’s Bone / Serena / X-Men: First ClassJennifer Lawrence, The Expendables 2 / AWOL / The Last Song’s Liam Hemsworth, Red Dawn / Carmel / The Kids Are All Right’s Josh Hutcherson, Movie 43 / What to Expect When You’re Expecting / People Like UsElizabeth Banks, and Indecent Proposal / Wag the Dog’s Woody Harrelson.

Also in the cast: The Devil Wears Prada / The Lovely Bones’ Stanley Tucci, MASH / Ordinary People’s Donald Sutherland, American Beauty / Loveless / The Time Being’s Wes Bentley, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising / Race to Witch Mountain’s Alexander Ludwig, Orphan / After Earth’s Isabelle Fuhrman, Sitting Babies / Running Wild’s Jack Quaid, and Snow White and the Huntsman / My Week with Marilyn’s Toby Jones.

American Reunion features Grassroots / Life Happens’ Jason Biggs, Hank and Mike / The Good Life’s Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, John Cho, Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy, Natasha Lyonne, Dania Ramirez, and Jay Harrington, in addition to a cameo by Neil Patrick Harris.

Titanic stars Blood Diamond / Gangs of New York’s Leonardo DiCaprio, Iris / Revolutionary Road’s Kate Winslet, Here Comes the Navy / Land of Plenty’s Gloria Stuart, The Roommate / The Mule’s Billy Zane, Misery / Dolores Claiborne’s Kathy Bates, Haywire / Shanghai Calling’s Bill Paxton, and The Host / Gone in Sixty Seconds’ Frances Fisher.

Also: Valkyrie / Gandhi’s Bernard Hill, Morgan! / A Doll’s House’s David Warner, The First Wives Club / Milk’s Victor Garber, The Usual Suspects / Firestorm’s Suzy Amis (James Cameron’s wife since 2000), Separate Lives / Chapter 27’s Mark Lindsay Chapman, Anaconda / Jumanji’s Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, and Sanctum / Fantastic Four’s Ioan Gruffudd.

Titanic 3D photo: Paramount / 20th Century Fox.

Continue Reading: Rita Hayworth: GILDA, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI on TCM

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"Box Office: THE HUNGER GAMES Ahead of AMERICAN REUNION, TITANIC 3D" © 2004-2013 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s). "Box Office: THE HUNGER GAMES Ahead of AMERICAN REUNION, TITANIC 3D" text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

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