‘Hunger Games’ Defeats ‘Stooges’ to Lead Box Office Again

The comedy “Think Like a Man” was the No. 1 weekend film at theaters in the U.S. and Canada with $33.6 million in ticket sales for Sony Corp. (6758), ending a four-week run in first place for “The Hunger Games.”

“The Hunger Games” dropped to third with $14.7 million in sales, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e- mailed statement. The romance drama “The Lucky One,” from Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros., opened in second place with $22.5 million.

Box-office sales gained 4 percent in the latest weekend after an 8 percent decline last week as studios readied major releases for the summer season that starts on May 4 with “Marvel’s The Avengers” from Walt Disney Co. (DIS) Sales for 2012 are running 17 percent ahead of last year with $3.14 billion in tickets sold, Hollywood.com said.

Phil Contrino, editor of film researcher BoxOffice.com, said results for “Think Like a Man,” weren’t surprising in that “the black audience is typically underserved by Hollywood.

‘‘So when you have an intelligent, insightful look at relationships, it’s no wonder that that will pull audiences in,’’ he said.

In ‘‘Think Like a Man,’’ four women unhappy with their men use advice from Steve Harvey, author of ‘‘Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.’’ The men learn of the tactics and fight back by getting their own copies of the text. The movie features Michael Ealy, Meagan Good and Taraji P. Henson.

‘The Lucky One’

‘‘Think Like a Man’’ was expected to generate $24 million in sales, the estimate of Boxoffice.com. Contrino said he didn’t expect any of the top three films to be in the top spot this coming weekend with the debut of ‘‘The Five-Year Engagement,’’ a romantic comedy from Comcast Corp.’s Universal starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.

‘‘The Lucky One’’ stars Zac Efron as a returning Iraq war veteran who searches for a girl he knows only from a picture he found during a tour of duty. Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner co-star. The film was expected to have $21 million in receipts, the estimate of Boxoffice.com.

‘‘This one benefited from a predominantly female audience because of Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron getting top billing,’’ Contrino said.

‘‘The Hunger Games’’ has generated $357.1 million in ticket sales for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) since it was released on March 23. The film, based on the Suzanne Collins novel, tells the story of a dystopian society where teens are forced to fight to the death in a televised competition. The picture stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson.

‘Chimpanzee’

The film’s four-week run in first place was the longest of any film since ‘‘Avatar’’ held the spot for seven weeks in late 2009 and early 2010. The movie also cracked the Top 20 among all-time domestic box-office grosses, placing 19th place, according to Hollywood.com.

The Disney documentary ‘‘Chimpanzee’’ was fourth with sales of $10.7 million in its debut weekend. The film, narrated by Tim Allen, follows a young chimp as he and his mother navigate the challenges of life in the jungle.

‘‘The Three Stooges,’’ from News Corp.’s Fox, fell to fifth this past weekend from second with $9.8 million in sales. Larry, Curly and Moe are drawn into a murder plot as they try to save their childhood home. The Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, directed and co-wrote the script. Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopolous star as the three brothers.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 4 percent to $126.1 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Year-to-date attendance is up 19 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for April 20 to April 22 and estimates for yesterday.

                     Rev.             Avg./    Pct.   Total
Movie               (mln) Theaters  Theater    Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 THINK LIKE A MAN $33.6   2,015  $16,693      --    $33.6    1
 2 THE LUCKY ONE     22.5   3,155    7,137      --     22.5    1
 3 THE HUNGER GAMES  14.7   3,752    3,909     -30    357.1    5
 4 CHIMPANZEE (DOC.) 10.7   1,563    6,829      --     10.7    1
 5 THE THREE STOOGES  9.8   3,482    2,804     -43     29.9    2
 6 CABIN IN THE WOODS 8.0   2,811    2,852     -46     27.2    2
 7 AMERICAN REUNION   5.5   3,033    1,805     -48     48.5    3
 8 TITANIC 3-D        5.0   2,515    2,001     -58     52.9    3
 9 21 JUMP STREET     4.8   2,427    1,958     -28    127.2    6
10 MIRROR MIRROR      4.4   2,938    1,500     -36     55.5    4
11 WRATH OF TITANS    3.9   2,502    1,568     -43     77.2    4
12 LOCKOUT            3.3   2,335    1,392     -48     11.2    2

Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $126.1        $121.2       +4.0


Year-to-date Revenue

     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
   $3,144        $2,692        +17

Year-to-date Attendance:      +19%

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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