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Hunger too fierce for Pie serving

By LOS ANGELES TIMES

This article was published April 13, 2012 at 2:42 a.m.

seann-william-scott-reprises-the-role-of-steve-stifler-in-american-reunion-a-film-that-revisits-the-characters-from-the-american-pie-movies-it-came-in-second-at-last-weekends-box-office-and-made-more-than-215-million

Seann William Scott reprises the role of Steve Stifler in American Reunion, a film that revisits the characters from the American Pie movies. It came in second at last weekend’s box office and made more than $21.5 million.

— The Hunger Games surpassed the $300 million milestone at the box office over the weekend, making the film more popular with American moviegoers than any of the Twilight installments.

For the third consecutive weekend, the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel claimed the No. 1 position at the multiplex, grossing an additional $33.1 million last weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Lionsgate. The movie has now collected $302.5 million in the U.S. and Canada alone.

American Reunion, the fourth entry in the raunchy American Pie teen comedy franchise, opened with a so so $21.5 million. A 3-D version of James Cameron’s historical romance Titanic was less popular, bringing in a decent $17.3 million.

Those who saw American Reunion last weekend liked it, assigning it an average grade of B-plus, according to market research firm Cinema-Score. Roughly 61 percent of the weekend audience was older than 25, suggesting that the film appealed mostly to a crowd familiar with the franchise instead of a new generation of moviegoers.

Nine years ago, American Wedding opened with $33 million. But if the fourth movie ends up lagging behind its previous entries domestically, it may make up some ground internationally. Overseas, Reunion opened in 28 foreign countries and collected $19.3 million. According to Universal, that’s 105 percent ahead of how much Wedding made in the same locations in 2003. The new movie performed especially well last weekend in Russia and Australia, selling about $5 million worth of tickets in each country.

When a 3-D reissue of The Lion King ended up grossing a surprisingly strong $94.2 million after its release in September, it seemed sure to spur a rush of 3-D re-releases. Walt Disney Studios decided to release four more of its animated titles in 3-D. The first of those, an updated Beauty and the Beast, started off with $17.8 million in January and ultimately grossed $47.4 million. That’s somewhat more than a 3-D version of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace made after debuting in February.

It seemed Titanic 3-D had perhaps the best chance for box-office success of any 3-D re-release, considering the 1997 original is the second highest-grossing of all time and filmmaker Cameron, who also directed Avatar, is one of the leaders in the 3-D technology field. But the film debuted with a lower three-day tally than any of the recent 3-D conversions, including Beast and Phantom Menace. Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox shared the $18 million cost to convert the story starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to 3-D.

The movie - which received an A, according to CinemaScore - was also released in 84 foreign countries last weekend, grossing $35.5 million. 20th Century Fox, which is releasing the film internationally, is hopeful that the movie will be a hit abroad, because theaters were sparse in many countries when the original debuted 15 years ago.For instance, when Titanic opened in Russia in 1998, it played in only 32 theaters and grossed $5.1 million. By comparison, Titanic 3-D was screened in 10 times as many Russian locations and made $4.9 million - 97 percent of the original’s lifetime gross in the country.

MovieStyle, Pages 32 on 04/13/2012

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