The Hunger Games, of course, was the third-highest-grossing film at the U.S. box office last year.
Last year, there wasn’t a bigger success story than Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games. Even the two movies that did more money at the domestic box office–Marvel’s The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises–were expected to do so, while The Hunger Games was predicted to be a modest hit and ended up blowing away expectations.
With $408 million, it was last years’ #3 film by a wide margin (#4 was Skyfall with $304 million, which would be in #3 this year, at least so far), and the top-performing non-superhero movie of 2012. It also opened so big ($152 million, after original projections were calling for a first weekend around $100 million) that some experts began to doubt whether Batman or Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would even be able to catch up to Katniss Everdeen. They did, but only after breaking a handful of records to do it, some of which The Hunger Games had just set.
Iron Man 3 is close–within about $130,000, at $407,880,000 and some change, but last week it made only $90,000 from just 71 theaters. That was down nearly 75% over the previous week, and if it takes another, similar hit (which isn’t totally inconceivable this close to the end of its run), it probably would have a very poor chance at generating the remaining money in what little time it has left in theaters.
Assuming there are no seismic changes to the cinema landscape over the rest of the year, this will also be the second consecutive year that Marvel has taken the top spot, and the fourth consecutive year that Marvel had a film in the top ten.
There’s a possibility that there could be a threat brewing for Iron Man 3, though, and it’s–wait for it–The Hunger Games.
The second installment in Lionsgate’s four-film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy will arrive in theaters later this year, two weeks after Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire may be Lionsgate’s best bet at “top-grossing movie of the year” now that their Twilight Saga films are over with. The franchise appeals to a broad demographic and is stocked with popular young actors.
And, of course, it’s the age of the sequel, in case Iron Man didn’t let you know on the way in. Iron Man 3 has made nearly $100 million more than Iron Man 2 did during its theatrical run, and while that movie made marginally less than the first film in the franchise, it’s pretty standard these days for sequels to outperform their predecessor. The Dark Knight blew Batman Begins out of the water, and nearly every Harry Potter film after the third (#2 and #3 underperformed) did better than the one that came before it. If Catching Fire dips the way Iron Man 2 and Harry Potter 2 did, Iron Man 3 will still take the box office crown, but all it has to do is equal its predecessor, not best it, to be (probably) 2013′s highest-grossing film in the U.S.
Of course, the odds are good that Iron Man 3 will still take the worldwide box office crown, regardless. The film is up over $1.2 billion worldwide, as compared to the $692 million The Hunger Games brought in.