LOS ANGELES — Film fans are still forking over for The Hunger Games, which took in $33.5 million to lead the box office for a third-straight weekend.
According to studio estimates Sunday, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games raised its domestic total to $302.8 million. It easily out-earned two returning favourites, Universal’s American Pie sequel American Reunion and a 3-D version of the blockbuster Titanic, released domestically by Paramount and overseas by 20th Century Fox.
Both newcomers opened solidly, though. American Reunion pulled in $21.5 million, the lowest haul since the 1999 original but still a decent return for a comedy franchise whose last big-screen chapter came nine years ago.
Titanic in 3-D reeled in $17.4 million over the weekend, raising its domestic take to $25.7 million since opening Wednesday. That lifts the lifetime domestic gross of James Cameron’s mega-hit to $626.5 million.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence as a teen forced to fight other youths in a televised death match, The Hunger Games now has topped the domestic gross of each of the Twilight movies and all but the first and last of the Harry Potter films.
The Hunger Games has helped studios race to a record box-office pace, with domestic revenues for the year now at $2.8 billion, up 20 per cent from 2011’s, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
The new sequel had the smallest start since 1999’s American Pie debuted with $18.7 million. Factoring in inflation, the original movie also sold more tickets than “American Reunion.”
Yet adding its $19.3 million earnings in 28 overseas markets, American Reunion started well with a worldwide total of $40.8 million.
Titanic follows such past hits as The Lion King and Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace to be converted to 3-D.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a tragic romance aboard the doomed ship, Titanic won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture. At $1.84 billion worldwide, the film remained the No. 1 modern blockbuster for 12 years until Cameron’s Avatar bumped it off with $2.8 billion.
The 3-D version has closed the gap a bit, with the lifetime total of Titanic now at just over $1.9 billion.
Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. The Hunger Games, $33.5 million.
2. American Reunion, $21.5 million ($19.3 million international).
3. Titanic in 3-D, $17.4 million ($35.5 million international).
4. Wrath of the Titans, $15 million.
5. Mirror Mirror, $11 million.
6. 21 Jump Street, $10.2 million ($2.9 million international).
7. Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax, $5 million ($11.8 million international).
8. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, $975,000.
9. John Carter, $820,000 ($2.6 million international).
10. Safe House, $581,000.