Universal’s American Reunion — returning the raunchy comedy franchise to the big screen after a nine-year hiatus — opened to a respectable $9.2 million on Friday after receiving a B+ CinemaScore.
But that wasn’t good enough to beat powerhouse The Hunger Games, which grossed $12.9 million in its third Friday for a domestic cume just north of $282 million.
The Lionsgate tentpole is expected to win Easter weekend with a gross in the $32 million to $34 million range, likely meaning it will jump the $300 million mark in only 17 days, the fastest for any non-summer or non-holiday movie.
American Reunion, coming in No. 2 behind Hunger Games, is projected to gross $22 million for the weekend. Universal kept the budget to $50 million, with Relativity throwing in some of the financing.
James Cameron‘s 3D rerelease of Titanic came in No. 3 with $7.1 million for a projected three-day cume of $15.5 million. It’s projected five-day opening cume is in the $20 million to $25 million range. The film is playing in roughly 2,600 theaters, including more than 70 IMAX runs.
The Easter box office is benefiting from kids and college students being out of school, while many adults also are off work for Good Friday.
Hunger Games has topped the domestic box office since opening March 23 and will cross the $300 million mark on Sunday or Monday, becoming the first movie to do so since last year’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which ultimately cumed $352.4 million domestically, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which cumed $381 million.
Hunger Games jumped the $400 million mark on Friday worldwide, although Hunger Games has been a softer performer overseas, where the books aren’t as well-known in many countries.