The Hunger Games Shatters Box Office Records

The Hunger Games was heavily predicted to open north of $100 million at the US box office; it was just a case of how high.

Lionsgate launched The Hunger Games at 4137 locations across North America and with screenings running around the clock they obtained a mammoth opening weekend of $152.5 million at the box office. This enters the record books as the third best opening weekend ever, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169 million) and The Dark Knight ($158 million). This topples the previous best March opener that was originally held by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It also eclipses the opening of any of the Twilight films, though the upcoming release of Breaking Dawn Part 2 could very well challenge it. 

Based on Suzanne Collins’ best selling novel, The Hunger Games started its record-breaking run by earning $19.7 million from midnight sneaks alone. This eventually turned into an opening Friday of $67.2 million, setting a record for the fifth highest opening day gross. Once Saturday was over it had earned an additional $50 million to bring its total up to $117 million. Even this would have been enough to place it within the top 20 highest opening weekends.

As an example of just how impressive this opening is, after three weekends of play, Disney’s John Carter has so far earned $62 million at the US box office. The Hunger Games has earned more than double that in just three days. 

Only 20 films have managed to earn over $100 million on their opening weekend at the US box office. The Hunger Games is distinctive in that it is one of only three films that is not a sequel, the others being Alice in Wonderland and Spider-Man.

“To launch a franchise like this is incredible,” said David Spitz, Lionsgate’s executive vice president of domestic distribution “It’s above and beyond our expectations. We’re just going to enjoy the ride.” Not only is it a record opening for Lionsgate, but it has already overtaken Fahrenheit 9/11 become their most successful film in the US. Released in over 50 countries around the world, it scored a worldwide gross of $211 million. This would place it just outside the top 20 worldwide openings. However, having already pre-sold distribution rights overseas (excluding the UK), it’ll limit just how much of that Lionsgate will see.

In the UK, The Hunger Games is estimated to have opened to £4.7 million, which would make it the highest opening weekend the UK has seen so far this year.

A release date for the sequel, Catching Fire, has already been set for November 22nd 2013, the pre-Thanksgiving weekend, which in the US has proven to be lucrative for both the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises.

Source: Deadline

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