The Wrap: ‘The Hunger Games’ Estimated For US$155M Opening Weekend

The Wrap reports ‘The Hunger Games’ has smashed even the most optimistic grossing predictions for the experts are now predicting it to rake in US$155 million for its opening weekend in North America.

“The Hunger Games” beat even the most optimistic box-office expectations in its debut weekend, grossing an estimated $155 domestically million and setting several records.

Lionsgate’s movie opened bigger than any movie ever to open in the period between January and April. It is the biggest non-sequel opening ever and the third-biggest movie opening ever.

The movie is about a dystopian future in which the government of the North American nation of Panem punishes its population for a long-ago rebellion by forcing children — a girl and a boy — from each of its dozen districts to fight to the death in an annual, nationally televised spectacle.

The only films to gross more than “The Hunger Games” in their opening weekend are “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “The Dark Knight.”

“Hunger Games” was the only major film to open this weekend. Last week’s No. 1 movie, Sony’s “21 Jump Street,” fell to No. 2 in America, taking a respectable $21.3 million. That’s a 41 percent drop from last week.

Lionsgate did not announce its pre-release expectation, though outside box-office watchers predicted the PG-13 rated movie would exceed $120 million. The movie, based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling young adult novel, cost about $100 to make — $80 million after tax incentives.

Its midnight showing was the biggest ever for a non-sequel: $19.7 million. In all, it took $68.25 million on Friday and $51 million on Saturday. Lionsgate estimates the movie will gross $36 million on Sunday.

It did $10.6 million on IMAX screens alone. That averages $40,000 per IMAX screen — a record for an IMAX digital release. The previous high was $6.4 million for “Thor” in 2011.

Even before the film opened on Friday, it was a phenomenon. Days before it was released, it had sold out nearly 2,000 screens, according to the online ticketing company Fandango. MovieTickets.com reported the same: nearly 2,500 screenings that company offered had sold out going into the weekend, and more than 450 screenings for Sunday through Thursday are sold out.

Once audiences saw “Hunger Games,” they liked it: The survey firm Cinemascore gave the movie an “A,” and viewers younger than 25 gave it an “A+.”

The opening weekend audience made up mostly of  females — 61 percent of audience members were female, and 56 percent were 25 and older.

At IMAX locations, males outnumbered females, though the company did not have precise numbers Sunday morning.

We have also previously reported about ‘The Hunger Games’ grossing record breaking US$68.25M on Friday in North American box office.

Deadline is also reporting ‘The Hunger Games’ having scored US$58.7M from global box office sales and breaks down why ‘The Hunger Games’ is breaking records even though it’s a non-sequel movie. These numbers are expected to increase as the days go by.

What made Lionsgate’s promotional campaign for The Hunger Games so unusual and probably effective was that the studio stuck to the rare strategy of not showing any footage of the games themselves in any marketing materials. So all that staggering amount of interest in this film was incited with no one having actually seen even a hint of over half the movie. Marketing kicked off last summer with 2 Entertainment Weekly covers during production to announce the cast, as well as the launch of the motion poster of the iconic flaming mocking jay. (Since EW has long been the semi-official mag of the Twilight Saga, Lionsgate took a page from Summit — which it now owns.) ABC’s Good Morning America debuted the entire trailer on air in November. Between the release of the first Hunger Games trailer in November 2011 and January 2012, the number of Collins’ books sold nearly doubled. By the time of the film’s opening, Hunger Games was on over 50 magazine covers.

The studio estimates its TV on-air promotions and sponsorships reached over 102 million people in America. They included a 3-night “studio lot sponsorship” on FX movies, Fangasm spots on MTV featuring the Real World Challenges cast, a Comedy Central ‘Action Countdown’ weekend, and an ABC Family ‘Premiere Party’ during the Season 2 finale of Pretty Little Liars where teen female viewers helped break social media records while twittering about a clip featuring fan favorite Peeta. According to SocialGuide, this generated the most social media buzz for any one-hour TV episode on record. The digital campaign was massive and started with the launch of the cast on The Hunger Games‘ Facebook page, then exploded over the past year with its own blogs. Lionsgate also worked exclusively with Microsoft to create games and apps. Publicity-wise, the film had an 8-city mall tour with thousands of fans at each stop around the country, as well as promotional screenings in 26 markets. The film had 5 premieres globally, starting in LA at the Nokia, and then London, Paris, Berlin and NYC.

Stay tune as we wait for actual figures to come in.

‘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 25, 2012, in The Hunger Games Movie and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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