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THE HUNGER GAMES Box Office: TITANIC 3D, AMERICAN REUNION?

Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic
Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic

The Hunger Games will easily top the North American box office once again this weekend – its third time as no. 1 – according to Deadline.com's "sources." As per Deadline's early, rough estimates, The Hunger Games is expected to collect $12-$14 million on Friday, and could reach $40 million over the Easter weekend. If so, Gary Ross' movie would be down close to 30 percent compared to last weekend – or less than half its drop-off rate last (non-holiday) weekend.

It seems that Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg's American Reunion will be the no. 2 movie on Friday, with somewhere between $8-$10 million at 3,192 locations, and an estimated $25 million by Sunday evening. That includes $660,000 earned at Thursday midnight screenings in North America.

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. There is, however, a pesky little thing known as inflation, which totally distorts box office comparisons and actual ticket-sales figures. In 2012 dollars, American Pie would have earned approximately $29 million. 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).

James Cameron's Titanic 3D is expected to collect $6.5-$7.5 million on Friday, though Deadline's estimated $20 million five-day cume looks like a typo. Since Titanic 3D has already earned $8.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday and should collect at least $6.5 million or whereabouts today, that basically means a minimum of $25-$26 million – probably more – by Sunday evening. Some have been expecting Titanic 3D to rake in $30 million in its first five days.

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 / X-Men: First Class' Jennifer 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 Us' Elizabeth Banks, and Seven Psychopaths / Zombieland's Woody Harrelson.

Also in the cast: Margin Call / Easy A / The Lovely Bones' Stanley Tucci, JFK / Eye of the Needle / Max Dugan Returns' 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.

American Reunion features Jason Biggs, 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 J. Edgar / The Aviator's Leonardo DiCaprio, The Reader / Mildred Pierce's Kate Winslet, Roman Scandals / The Old Dark House / The Invisible Man'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, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, and Sanctum / Fantastic Four's Ioan Gruffudd.

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

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