The Hunger Games and American Reunion topped weekly box office ticket sales charts over the weekend during the second week of April in 2012. Offering youthful appeal to audiences, viewers of all ages turned out to see the new movies in droves. Because the movies were both trendy to go see with friends and family, American Reunion made a respectable $21.5M in the first week the new movie was out. The Hunger Games made $33.1M over the same weekend, topping it on the IMDb Top Movies chart.
As a result, Hollywood insiders are taking note: making films that appeal to wider demographics than one particular niche in today’s market sells tickets at the box office. But they are also taking note that celebrity scandal involvement with actors and actresses gets blockbuster movies the most free press — all thanks to Miley Cyrus, the Disney princess who is not involved in any way with either movie.
By April 12th, The Hunger Games movie had already grossed $302 million in the first three weeks since its release. The film based on the book series appeals to older children, teens, young adults, and parents because it is emotionally engaging. However, the film’s star power makes it appealing to all generations who have gone to see it.
Younger viewers are enthralled because of the star power of actors like Jennifer Lawrence (an up and coming Hollywood starlet) and Liam Hemsworth.
In real life, Hemsworth happens to be dating Miley Cyrus [the actress and pop music singer who played the character Hannah Montana for Disney]. His appeal to Gen Y and Gen Me (as a new heart-throb) has been greatly increased by her notoriety.
Since the film debut, online gossip reports ranging from claims the two are engaged to her trying to upstage him by getting caught in celebrity scandals photos not wearing underwear with miniskirts have dominated entertainment news feeds.
Hemsworth is allegedly disgusted with paparazzi who elected to publish upskirt photos of his girlfriend rather than criticizing her for knocking his name out of the limelight with the racy wardrobe selections — but bottom line, her celebrity scandal has gotten the film even more free press.
But having the chance to check him out on-screen and to size him up as her long-term boyfriend after her name and photos being in popular tabloids is not the biggest reason to see the film.
Young adults and twenty-somethings might think Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence are both trendy celebrity teens to go see in new Hollywood films — but older actors like Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, and even rock music singer turned actor Lenny Kravitz helped bring Gen X and Baby Boomers into theaters to see The Hunger Games during its first few weeks as well.
But American Reunion has captured the attention of nearly every movie goer who is over the age of 17 and can get into a rated R movie based solely on its own merits — not because of a scandal involving their All-Star cast of celebrities.
Why? Most likely because the film is filled with classic cheese. For that reason, the movie has been able to give producers of competing film a run for their money.
Not only can older viewers relate to the funny movie because they connect emotionally to the teenage characters of the American Pie movie series, they can relate to wistfully longing to relive the wild days of their high school youth. They can relate to the angst created by that first reunion. And, of course, they can relate to the joys and agony of leaving behind youthful desires and ambitions to pursue careers while taking on the responsibilities of marriage and raising children once they get through the college years.
To that end, promoting the youth theme of the films to [what amounted to being] adult children of all ages made the most money over the weekend out of all the Hollywood films that hit box offices nationally. American Reunion has simply not gotten as much free press as The Hunger Games because the actors and actresses in it have not been involved lately with any big celebrity scandal.
Other close competitors for the top movie spot over the weekend were Titanic in 3D, Wrath Of The Titans, and the new fairy tale movie Mirror Mirror with actress Julia Roberts playing the lead.