With its victory at box office this weekend, “The Hunger Games” became the first film to win four consecutive crowns since “Avatar.”
These days of front-loaded releases, it's rare for a movie to score a three-peat, let alone a four-peat. Only four movies have managed that feat post-“Avatar,” according to boxofficemojo.com stats. “The Help” was the sole triple threat last year; in 2010, “Alice in Wonderland,” “Shrek Forever After” and “Inception” won three weekends before relinquishing their crowns.
“Avatar” managed to win seven weekends before getting pushed out the top perch by “Dear John” in early February 2010. It went on to gross more than $750 million at the domestic box office.
No one is expecting “The Hunger Games” to top that bar. Like “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Hunger Games” had the advantage of debuting in March, when box-office competition isn't as fierce as in the summer or winter holidays. "The Hunger Games" pulled in an estimated $21.5 million this weekend, with "The Three Stooges" its closest competition at $17.1 million; overall the box office was down compared to a year ago, when "Rio" debuted to nearly $40 million.
At this point, Lionsgate believes, repeat viewings are helping to keep "The Hunger Games" strong. "You just have to assume you're makiing everyone happy at this point," Richie Fay, president of film distribution for Lionsgate, told TheWrap on Sunday.
The studio's hit adaptation of Suzanne Collins' young adult novel began its reign March 23, grossing $152.5 million its debut weekend, the third-highest opener ever. Now ranked No. 22 on the all-time domestic box-office chart, it has already passed “Alice” with $337 million at the domestic box office. But it lags behind several movies from the past two years: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” at $402.1 million, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “Toy Story 3” at $415 million.
“The Hunger Games” faces potentially stiffer competition in Zac Efron's “The Lucky One” and Steve Harvey's “Think Like a Man” next weekend. Can it extend its winning streak? One rival studio exec is dubious, telling TheWrap: “This ends now.”