Pretty amazing to think that this kind of money can be made in 4,137 theatres.
My sources tonight say The Hunger 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. A Lionsgate 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 may be for a non-sequel and/or non-reboot film — and certainly an amazing start.
No records were broken, but to live up to the extraordinary hype is a major achievement for Lionsgate, who now have their own “Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings” franchise.
The real achievement, however, is the A+ from Cinemascore. Not only did the studio deliver the opening weekend, they also delivered a film the fans love. This means that those records just might be broken when the second and third chapters are unleashed.
Congratulations to Lionsgate and all those involved, especially director Gary Ross, who must feels about 500 pounds lighter with the pressure finally off his back.