'The Hunger Games' tops box office for fourth straight week

A worker swaps out the billboard marking the opening of 'The Hunger Games' March 22, 2012 at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York.

Bob Moon: For the fourth week in a row, "The Hunger Games" was number one at the box office over the weekend. Not since "Avatar" has a movie held onto the top spot for so long.

Marketplace's Amy Scott reports, that's good news for theater owners.


Amy Scott: "The Hunger Games" brought in $21.5 million in ticket sales over the weekend, beating out "The Three Stooges" and horror movie "The Cabin in the Woods." Since its debut March 23rd, "The Hunger Games" has done almost $340 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, plus almost $200 million in international sales.
 
Obviously it's a big win for distributor Lionsgate Entertainment. But when a movie does so well for so long, it also benefits theater owners, who are coming off a few of years of sagging ticket sales.
 
Stuart Levine is managing editor of entertainment industry newspaper Variety. He says spring is often a slow time for big movies.

Stuart Levine: If you have one that's going to play well for three, four, five weeks in a row -- like "The Hunger Games" has -- you're getting people in the theater, they're buying popcorn, they're paying for soda. So that's ultimately a good thing.

Levine says it's also a good thing for cast and crew members who can build careers off a mega-hit --  and a good run at the theater bodes well for DVD sales.
 
Still, Levin doubts "The Hunger Games" will come close to the box office record held by "Avatar," which did more than $750 million in domestic sales. He doesn't expect a movie about a teen battle to the death to have the same mass appeal.
 
I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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