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'Hunger Games' Gobbles Up 4th Consecutive Victory

“The Hunger Games” juggernaut could not be stopped this weekend: Lionsgate's monster hit easily defeated “The Three Stooges” and “The Cabin in the Woods” for its fourth consecutive victory at the domestic box office.

It is the first movie since “Avatar” to notch so many victories in a row.

The adaptation of Suzanne Collins' popular young adult novel grossed $21.5 million domestically, according to studio estimates. That was better than the studio projected and a healthy margin ahead of Fox's “Three Stooges,” which also did better than expected with an estimated $17.1 million.

“You plot and you plan, but it's always nice to be pleasantly surprised,” Richie Fay, president of film distribution for Lionsgate, told TheWrap.

 “Hunger Games” has now grossed $337.1 million at the domestic box office, and more than a half-billion globally. The studio is moving forward on its “Catching Fire” sequel without director Gary Ross, who bowed out of directing it due to time constraints.

Also read: Gary Ross Bows Out of Directing 'Hunger Games' Sequel

“The Three Stooges” was considered a wild card for the weekend, due to the age of the original source material, which dates back to the 1930s and its decidedly male appeal, but the younger generation turned out for the Farrelly brothers' adaptation.

"This property has been around for a long time," said Chris Aronson, Fox exec VP of distribution. "This is a new way to expose it to a new generation."

Also read: 'The Three Stooges': Lots of Yucks Amid the Nyuck-Nyuck-Nyucks

The strong debut opened the door for future installments. "I know the Farrellys would love to do another," Aronson said.

The movie's audience was 58 percent male and 42 percent female, and got its strongest Cinemascore rating from the under 18 crowd, who gave it an A. Its overall rating was B-.

Lionsgate's horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” brought in $14.9 million. Co-written by “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon, it had strong reviews going into the weekend.

The other newcomer, “Lockout,” came in ninth with $6.3 million; Open Road is distributing for Film District under a service deal.

Also read: 'The Cabin in the Woods': See It Before Someone Spoils It

The rest of the top 10 was filled out by holdovers.

“Titanic 3D” and “American Reunion” took the fourth and fifth spots in the box office, respectively. The 3D version of James Cameron's historic drama brought in an estimated $11.6 million its second weekend for a $4.4 million total, while the latest installment in Universal's “American Pie” grossed an estimated $6.3 million its second weekend for a $39.9 million domestic total.

Relativity's “Mirror Mirror” took sixth with an estimated $7 million its third weekend for $49.5 million. “Wrath of the Titans,” also in its third weekend, grossed another $6.9 million for Warner Bros.; its domestic total stands at $71.3 million.

Sony's “21 Jump Street” scored another $6.8 million for a total of $120.6 million.

Universal's “Lorax” filled out the top 10 with $3 million. It's total is $204.5 million domestic.