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The Farrelly brothers’ The Three Stooges finished Friday in a virtual tie with Cabin in the Woods at the domestic box office — but neither new movie were able to topple box office monster The Hunger Games.
Hunger Games, from Lionsgate, grossed $6.5 million on its fourth Friday for a domestic cume of $322 million. The event pic is expected to stay at No. 1 for the weekend with $20 million.
Twentieth Century Fox’s The Stooges cleared a solid $5.6 million as it opened domestically, versus $5.5 million for Cabin in the Woods, also from Lionsgate.
Stooges, rated PG, will safely pull ahead of Cabin on Saturday as families begin turning out, and is expected to score a weekend gross of $18 million to $19 million. The slapstick comedy could do more if it enjoys a better-than-expected family bump.
Stooges, featuring Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso as Moe, Larry and Curly, also stars Jane Lynch and Larry David and was made for a modest $35 million, excluding marketing costs.
The comedy drew a B- CinemaScore overall, but a promising A from those under the age of 18. The film is playing especially well among boys, with those under 18 making up 30 percent of Friday’s audience. Stooges is fueled by males of all ages, who made up 59 percent of the audience.
Cabin in the Woods earned a C CinemaScore, not uncommon for a horror title. The film, from from Lionsgate and MGM, is expected to gross in the $14.5 million range for the weekend.
Cabin in the Woods was co-written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon and directed by Goddard, with Whedon producing. Rated R, the film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth (who also stars in Whedon’s upcoming The Avengers), Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams and Richard Jenkins.
The third new film opening domestically is EuropaCorp’s sci-fi action pic Lockout, headlining Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace. Open Road Films is distributing the film for fellow indie distributor FilmDistrict, which is rebuilding its operation after losing Bob Berney and Jeanne Berney, who headed up distribution and marketing, respectively.
Lockout, grossing roughly $2.2 million, is predicted to open to $6 million to $8 million. James Mather and Stephen St. Leger directed the film from a script they wrote with Europa’s Luc Besson. FilmDistrict acquired domestic rights from EuropaCorp.
The biggest gross of the weekend will come overseas, where Universal and Hasbro’s Battleship is rolling out five weeks ahead of its May 18 launch. The pic, earning $25 million in its first three days (in some territories, movies open midweek), is projected to gross $58 million through Sunday from 26 markets.
At $58 million, Battleship is pacing 75 percent ahead of John Carter’s opening and 78 percent of Wrath of the Titans (both of those films will gross north of $200 million internationally).
Battleship, headlining Taylor Kitsch, is a powerhouse in Asia, posting an opening-day gross of $2.8 million in South Korea — the best ever for an English-language nonsequel and the third-biggest of all time behind Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Shrek the Third.
In Europe, Battleship is doing solid business, grossing $3.7 million in the U.K., including previews. It posted an opening-day gross of $730,000 in Spain, the best showing of the year, and also nabbed the biggest opening day of the year in Germany ($900,000).
Universal and Hasbro, which spent north of $200 million to produce the tentpole, took the unprecedented step of going out so early internationally to give Battleship room before May tentpoles The Avengers and Men in Black 3 make their global assaults. Avengers opens May 4 domestically, but begins its foreign debut in two weeks.
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