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There’s no stopping the appetite for The Hunger Games.
The Lionsgate event pic easily stayed at No. 1 at the Friday box office despite the entry of two new titles, Warner Bros.’ 3D action pic Wrath of the Titans and Relativity Media’s Snow White movie Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Armie Hammer.
Hunger Games is expected to earn as much as $20 million on Friday for a projected weekend gross of $61 million. The movie, which finished Thursday with a domestic cume of nearly $190 million, will jump the $200 million mark by the end of the day.
Wrath of the Titans is expected to gross $11 million to $12 milion on Friday for a weekend opening in the $33 million to $35 million range (box office observers stressed that those numbers were based on early returns). That’s slightly softer than expected, with most anticipating a debut in the $35 million to $40 million range.
The 3D sequel returns Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in the lead roles and is directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Actors new to the franchise include Rosamund Pike, Venezuela’s Edgar Ramirez and the U.K.-born Toby Kebbell.
Louis Leterrier directed Clash of the Titans, which debuted just north of $61 million during Easter weekend in 2010. Warners doesn’t expect the sequel to reach the same level, since this weekend isn’t a holiday. But by opening a week before Easter, Warners can take advantage of spring break, which is staggered over the next two weeks.
In 2010, Warners was widely criticized for rushing to convert Clash of the Titans into 3D to boost its box-office potential. Wrath also was converted to 3D after it was shot, but the studio says the quality of the conversion was far superior.
Mirror Mirror is expected to gross $6 million or $7 million on Friday for a weekend debut in the $22 million to $24 million range. Relativity hopes to take advantage of being the only PG title in the marketplace until April 27, when Sony opens The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
The retelling of the classic fairy tale is an important property for Relativity as the company tries to produce its own films. Mirror Mirror, shot in Montreal, cost $80 million to make after rebates. Relativity sold off foreign rights and says its exposure on the production budget is $30 million (that doesn’t include marketing costs).
Mirror Mirror is the first of two Snow White movies opening this year, though Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman, which bows in the summer, isn’t a family film.
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