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'The Hunger Games' Box Office: Plummeting 60%?

Donald Sutherland President Snow The Hunger Games
Donald Sutherland as President Snow, The Hunger Games

That The Hunger Games would easily top the North American box office this weekend was a given. Now, how much exactly Gary Ross' film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel would earn was open to debate. Perhaps that still is.

Last night, Deadline.com reported early estimates of $24 million for Friday and $75 million for the weekend, as The Hunger Games is still playing at 4,137 venues (minus IMAX screens). However, it turns out that the futuristic adventure tale collected a much more modest – though still impressive – $18.85 million on Friday as per studio estimates. That's down 72 percent compared to a week ago, which also included $19.5 million from Thursday midnight screenings. Taking those into account, The Hunger Games actually dropped 61 percent.

Anyhow, instead of the previously announced $75 million for the weekend, The Hunger Games is now expected to earn around $60 million. If so, it'll be down 61 percent compared to last weekend. That's a high drop-off rate – though not unusual for movies with huge opening weekends. Yet, much like the 62 percent drop-off rate for Catherine Hardwicke's original Twilight, that's still a marked drop when compared to the slow-down rates of popular non-sequels.

For comparison's sake: James Cameron's (admittedly, highly unusual) Avatar was down a minuscule 2 percent. Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man was down 38 percent. Chris Columbus' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was down 36 percent. Michael Bay's Transformers was down 47.5 percent.

Among sequels, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, seemingly an exception to most "sequel" box office rules, was down only 52.5 percent on its second weekend. David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was down 72 percent, while Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was down 61 percent.

Despite its relatively abrupt slowdown, The Hunger Games has already passed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. The film's cume after 8 days is an estimated $208.78 million.

Ignoring inflation (or, for that matter, the assistance of 3D/IMAX surcharges), The Hunger Games is one of only six movies to reach $200 million in the U.S. and Canada after only eight days. The other five are:

Three other movies reached that milestone on their fifth day out. Those were:

Director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) co-wrote The Hunger Games' screenplay with author Suzanne Collins and Breach / State of Play / Captain Phillips screenwriter Billy Ray. The futuristic action adventure with sociopolitical overtones stars X-Men: First Class / Devil You Know's Jennifer Lawrence (a Best Actress Oscar nominee for Debra Granik's low-budget drama Winter's Bone), The Expendables 2 / AWOL / The Last Song's Liam Hemsworth, and Red Dawn / Carmel / The Kids Are All Right's Josh Hutcherson.

The Hunger Games cast also includes Movie 43 / What to Expect When You're Expecting / People Like Us' Elizabeth Banks, Seven Psychopaths / Zombieland's Woody Harrelson, Burlesque / Captain America: The First Avenger / Gambit's Stanley Tucci, MASH / Klute / 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, Salvation Boulevard / The Healer's Isabelle Fuhrman, Sitting Babies / Running Wild's Jack Quaid, and Snow White and the Huntsman / Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / The Girl's Toby Jones.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson / The Hunger Games photo: Murray Close / Lionsgate.

Previously posted

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games Stanley Tucci
Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games will easily top the North American box office this weekend. That's no news. Now, how much exactly Gary Ross' film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel will earn is still open to debate. [Revised The Hunger Games box office estimates.]

According to Deadline.com, The Hunger Games is poised to take in $75 million from 4,137 venues by Sunday evening, after grossing an estimated $24 million today. If those figures are correct, The Hunger Games will have dropped 51 percent compared to last weekend's $152 million. That's not bad at all, considering the film's $19.5 million earned from Thursday midnight screenings last week and the fact that it'll have lost numerous IMAX screens this weekend (though the theater count remains the same).

Additionally, that would mean The Hunger Games has passed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office some time earlier today. The film's cume after 8 days would be $214 million. Ignoring inflation (or, for that matter, the assistance of 3D/IMAX surcharges), The Hunger Games is one of six movies to reach $200 million in North America after only eight days. The other five are:

  • Gore Verbinski / Orlando Bloom / Johnny Depp / Keira Knightley's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006),
  • Chris Weitz / Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner's The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009),
  • Michael Bay / Shia LaBeouf / Josh Duhamel / Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011),
  • Sam Raimi / Tobey Maguire / Kirsten Dunst's Spider-Man 2 (2004),
  • George Lucas / Ewan McGregor / Natalie Portman / Hayden Christensen's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Three other movies have reached that milestone after five days. They are:

  • Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale / Heath Ledger / Maggie Gyllenhaal's The Dark Knight (2008),
  • David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe / Emma Watson / Ralph Fiennes / Rupert Grint's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011),
  • Michael Bay / Shia LaBeouf / Josh Duhamel / Megan Fox's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009).

I should also mention that besides being the no. 1 movie in the United States, The Hunger Games also happens to be the country's no. 1 book and no. 1 album.

Director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) co-wrote The Hunger Games' screenplay with novelist Suzanne Collins and Breach / State of Play / Captain Phillips screenwriter Billy Ray. The futuristic action adventure with sociopolitical overtones stars X-Men: First Class / Devil You Know's Jennifer Lawrence (a Best Actress Oscar nominee for Debra Granik's low-budget drama Winter's Bone), The Expendables 2 / AWOL / The Last Song's Liam Hemsworth, and Red Dawn / Carmel / Journey 2: The Mysterious Island's Josh Hutcherson.

The Hunger Games cast also includes Movie 43 / What to Expect When You're Expecting / Zack and Miri Make a Porno's Elizabeth Banks, 2012 / Friends with Benefits / The Messenger's Woody Harrelson, Burlesque / Captain America: The First Avenger / Gambit's Stanley Tucci, MASH / Horrible Bosses / 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, Salvation Boulevard / The Healer's Isabelle Fuhrman, Sitting Babies / Running Wild's Jack Quaid, and Snow White and the Huntsman / Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / The Girl's Toby Jones.

Jennifer Lawrence / Stanley Tucci / The Hunger Games photo: Murray Close / Lionsgate.

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