‘The Hunger Games’ With Record Breaking US$68.25M For Friday North American Box Office

‘The Hunger Games’ is certainly doing well internationally with Deadline reporting it opening to around US$1.8M (S$2,269,980) in Australia and raking in US$19.75M with only North American Friday midnight shows and groundbreaking US$68.25M for Friday, which is the opening day, North American box office sales. This marks the 5th highest Friday sales ever in North America. Experts are predicting US$140M opening weekend sales and possibly higher.

As for the actual numbers, we will know soon. Read more below.

SATURDAY 7:30 AM, 7TH UPDATE…EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate’s record-shattering The Hunger Games opened with $68.25M grosses for Friday’s North American box office, including $19.75M in record-setting midnights. That should make for a first weekend of $140M with upside. This is the highest non-sequel opening weekend ever, and the highest debut single day for a non-sequel ever, and the highest March opening ever, and the 5th highest opening day ever. Adding to the great reviews around the globe, domestic audiences gave The Hunger Games an ‘A’ Cinemascore with under-age 18 teens/tweens rating it ‘A+’, an indication of their extreme satisfaction with the movie beyond all the marketing and media hype. Rival studios say The Hunger Games, unlike theTwilight Saga, has expanded from attracting both younger and older females initially now to younger makes as a 3-quadrant movie. And the heat from the anticipation by teens and tweens is making more adults start to get interested to make it a 4-quadrant film. Huge lines snaked around those U.S. and Canada movie theaters able to schedule Friday midnight screenings. Some locations even arranged to play The Hunger Games continuously during this opening 3-day weekend. This is the largest domestic release in the history of Lionsgate — with a theater count of 4,137 locations for 10,000+ prints — and the biggest movie start ever for Lionsgate, which now can count on a blockbuster bonanza for its franchise trilogy based on the novels by Suzanne Collins. “I’ve never lived up at this level. Very few people have,” one ecstatic Lionsgate exec gushed to me Friday night. “I did see some champagne glasses flowing down the hall.”

Here’s the Top Ten (based on Friday grosses):

1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) NEW [4,137 Theaters] PG13-rated
Est Friday $68.2M, Est Weekend $140.0M

2. 21 Jump Street (Sony) Week 2 [3,121 Theaters] R-rated
Est Friday $6.4M, Est Weekend $20.0M (-52%), Est Cume $70.0M

3. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (Universal) Week 4 [3,677 Theaters] PG-rated
Est Friday $3.2M, Est Weekend $13.0M, Est Cume $175.0M

4. John Carter (Disney) Week 3 [3,212 Theaters) PG13-rated
Est Friday $1.5M, Est Weekend $5.5M, Est Cume $63.0M

5. Project X (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,065 Theaters] R-rated
Est Friday $700K, Est Weekend $1.8M, Est Cume $51.6M

6. October Baby (IDP/SGF) NEW [398 Theaters] PG13-rated
Est Friday $600K, Est Weekend $1.8M

7. Act Of Valor (Relativity) Week 5 [2,219 Theaters] R-rated
Est Friday $550K, Est Weekend $1.9M, Est Cume $65.8M

8. A Thousand Words (DWorks/Par) Week 3 [1,787 Theaters] PG13-rated
Est Friday $500K, Est Weekend $1.7M, Est Cume $14.8M

9. Safe House (Universal) Week 7 [1,330 Theaters] R-rated
Est Friday $475K, Est Weekend $1.5M, Est Cume $122.8M

10. Journey 2 (Warner Bros) Week 7 [1,340 Theaters] PG-rated
Est Friday $400K, Est Weekend $1.3M, Est Cume $97.0M

FRIDAY 11 PM, 6TH UPDATE… EXCLUSIVE: My sources tonight say TheHunger Games is looking to open humongous with $66 million for Friday box office from 4,137 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, including the record $19.75M in midnight shows. An insider tells me that ”$70M is still a possibility for Friday with a little swing here or there”. And one rival studio exec explains to me, “The West Coast and late shows still need to come in, so this number could bounce around a bit. But, nevertheless it’s everything we thought it to be.” That puts its 3-day North American weekend gross at a gigantic $138M with a lot of upside. Adding to the great reviews around the globe, domestic audiences gave The Hunger Games an ‘A’ Cinemascore with under-age 18 teens/tweens rating it ‘A+’. This is the biggest movie start ever for Lionsgate, which now can count on a blockbuster bonanza for its franchise trilogy. “I’ve never lived up at this level. Very few people have,” one ecstatic Lionsgate exec gushed to me Friday night. “I did see some champagne glasses flowing down the hall.” This is not the biggest opening day gross ever, but it is for a non-sequel and/or non-reboot film (unadjusted for inflation) – and certainly an amazing start. It’s within the Top 5 all-time Friday openings which include 1) Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part Two ($91.1M), 2) Twilight Saga: New Moon ($72.7M); 3) Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One ($71.6M), 4) The Dark Knight ($67.2M); 4) Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One ($61.7M).

Except for #2 Sony Pictures’ holdover 21 Jump Street and #3 Universal’s Dr. Suess The Lorax, other movies couldn’t get traction Friday. Overall, the weekend is looking up +60% from last year.

FRIDAY 8:00 PM, 5TH UPDATE… EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games now has a hefty opening location average right around $12,000. Keep in mind that in many ways there are no ideal comps because the big-grossing films are all holiday and/or sequels and/or summer releases. Whereas Hunger Games, based on the bestselling trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, is a March debut of a first in a franchise. Comps include Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part Two – $13,028, which made for a $91.1M opening day and $169.2M weekend; The Dark Knight – $12,219/$67.2M/$158.4M; Twilight Saga: New Moon– $14,504/$72.7M/$142.8M; Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One– $11,185/$71.6M/$138.1M.

FRIDAY 4:10 PM, 4TH UPDATE… EXCLUSIVE: My movie studio sources are telling me that the Friday gargantuan opening box office for Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games is ranging from a low of $60M to a high of $75M today from 4,137 North American theaters. That number includes the record-setting $19.75M midnight grosses. For the 3-day weekend overall domestic blockbuster number, my insiders are predicting a low of $135M to a high near $150M. This is a huge bonanza for the studio and not much less than its motion picture revenue for recent quarters. Meanwhile Lionsgate sources are telling me that the hotly anticipated pic did a matinee per-screen average of $7,800. Now that number is rising past $9,900 at this hour. That’s better than The Dark Knight ($9,806) andTwilight Saga’s Breaking Down Part One ($9,310) but not Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part Two ($11,300) and Twilight Saga’s New Moon ($12,600).

FRIDAY 10:30 AM, 2ND UPDATE… EXCLUSIVE: Rival movie studios looking at early matinee grosses (which are dominated by pre-sales) tell me that Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games may beat the most recent Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One opening weekend gross of $138 million. That would be an extraordinary result since this is only the first in The Hunger Games franchise trilogy. “Early matinees are in the world where The Hunger Games will giveTwilight a run for their money,” one mogul tells me. “It’s doing spectacularly. Unlike Twilight, it’s attracting both boys and girls as a 3-quadrant movie. And the heat of it from the teens and tweens is making adults start to get interested as well. Older audiences are turning up to make it a 4-quadrant film.”

FRIDAY 8:30 AM UPDATE… EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games is already shattering records. Its opening $19.75 million box office result from 2,565 midnight locations set the record for all-time highest-grossing non-sequel midnights ever. It’s also the 7th highest midnight gross of all time. To understand how gigantic this result is, Batman reboot The Dark Knight did $18.5M in midnights on a summer opening in 2008. It’s also the highest IMAX non-summer non-holiday 2D opening of all time, earning $1.3M from 269 IMAX locations. That’s the highest midnights behind Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One ($1.4M) and Part Two ($2.0M) and more than Transformers 3($1.3M). Huge lines snaked around those North American movie theaters able to schedule midnight screenings. Some locations even arranged to play The Hunger Games continuously during this opening 3-day weekend. Right now theater owners are adding screens every minute for the largest release in the history of Lionsgate with an opening weekend count in excess of 4,127 locations in the U.S. and Canada for 10,000+ prints. (Right now, that only puts The Hunger Games at #12 on the all-time list of widest openings at the box office. No. 1 is June 2010′sThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse which released into 4,468 theaters.) Also look for a humongous overseas opening worldwide day-and-date on an estimated 7,700 prints everywhere except for handful of markets (which include Spain, Italy, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Venezuela.

On Wall Street, Lionsgate shares bounced around in trading but ended at par. Some of that likely is due to profit-taking and high expectations games. The film/TV studio’s stock price is up 134.3% over the last 12 months. “There is an old market saw ‘Buy on the rumor, sell on the news’ that is likely unfolding,” Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh tells Deadline’s David Lieberman. Bulls may not want to count on The Hunger Games topping The Twilight Saga: New Moon which generated $142.8M in its opening weekend. Some traders were concerned aboutThe Hunger Games’ $20M midnight opening which didn’t match the TwilightSaga’s. But the pros likely will sit on the sidelines until they see how the frontloaded film does its second weekend, a far better barometer for a film’s ultimate performance.

Fandango is currently selling 12 tickets per second for The Hunger Games which represents an overwhelming 97% of online ticket sales today. More than 3,500 showtimes sold out on fandango in advance of the release. The Hunger Gamesnow leads the list of Fandango’s top franchise-openers, and has eclipsed The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and surpassed The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1to become Fandango’s #3 advance ticket seller of all-time. According to a recent Fandango survey of several thousand Hunger Games ticket-buyers, 89% said they plan to see the movie on opening weekend, 62% of ticket-buyers planned on seeing the film more than once on the big screen, 54% were going with a group of 3 or more friends.To date, nearly 2,500 screenings offered nationwide by the online ticketing provider for the film’s release have sold out, of which over 1,400 were for last night’s midnight screenings. On MovieTickets.com, The Hunger Games is the #1 non-sequel preseller of all-time, beating out Twilight. Over 10% of all tickets sold for the first weekend release are for IMAX theaters.

Visit Deadline for the full article.

‘The Hunger Games’ was released on 22 March 2012 in all major cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

Posted on March 24, 2012, in The Hunger Games Movie and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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