Not even James Cameron can knock “The Hunger Games” down.
The dark post-apocalyptic drama earned $12.9 million on Friday, leading into what is expected to be a $30 million weekend for the film. That’s well ahead of this week’s new entries, “American Reunion” and “Titanic 3-D,” and will most likely hold off both films for the top spot by the time Sunday rolls around.
“American Reunion,” a sequel to the 1999 comedy “American Pie,” picked up $9.2 million on Friday, according to Box Office Mojo. That puts it behind two other recent sequels in the franchise, “American Pie 2” that earned $16.5 million, and “American Wedding,” which earned $12.2 million.
The highly anticipated re-release of “Titanic,” once the highest-grossing movie of all time, is not pulling in the kinds of audiences Paramount Pictures had hoped. That film earned $7.1 million on Friday, bringing its three-day total to $15.5 million. It’s expected to have a weekend gross around $25 million, likely giving it second place ahead of “American Reunion,” but just not enough to top “Hunger Games.”
The news for “Hunger Games” is that it appears to really be the first film franchise that might be able to prove itself as a true successor to the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises. It’s nearly $13 million Friday is double the third Fridays of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (the highest-grossing of the Harry Potter films), and any of the Twilight films. In fact, Box Office Mojo predicts that “Hunger Games” will cross the $300 million domestic mark as early as Sunday, but could be more likely Monday.
“Hunger Games” currently has $282.2 million, and is by far the top movie of 2012 so far. Its closest competitor is “Dr. Suess’ The Lorax,” which could cross the $200 million mark this weekend, but is not expected to make too much more after that.