In this image released by Lionsgate

Hunger Games battles to $155M opening weekend

The Hunger Games has filled fan appetites with a $155 million opening weekend that puts it near the top of the domestic record book.

LOS ANGELES — The Hunger Games has filled fan appetites with a $155 million opening weekend that puts it near the top of the domestic record book.

The huge haul marks the third-best debut ever in terms of revenue, behind the $169.2 million opening for last year’s Harry Potter finale and the $158.4 million opening of 2008’s The Dark Knight.

Harry Potter and Batman were well-established franchises. The Hunger Games set a revenue record for a non-sequel, taking in more than twice what the first Twilight movie did with its $69.6 million opening weekend.

“This is the birth of a franchise. To launch in this fashion is mindboggling,” said David Spitz, head of distribution at Lionsgate, which now also owns the Twilight franchise after its purchase of Summit Entertainment.

It also was by far the biggest start for a film opening outside the busy summer and holiday seasons.

According to Sunday studio estimates, The Hunger Games came in nearly $40 million ahead of the previous March record-holder, 2010’s Alice in Wonderland at $116.1 million.

The Hunger Games slid into the No. 3 spot on the domestic revenue chart ahead of “Spider-Man 3,” which opened with $151.1 million in 2007.

Factoring in today’s higher tickets prices, The Hunger Games sold fewer tickets over opening weekend than Spider-Man 3, though.

Fans camped out for the first screenings of The Hunger Games, which began just after midnight Friday. Many fans showed up dressed as favourite characters from the story.

“That type of behaviour puts it on the level of the Star Treks and Star Wars,” Spitz said. “I was so excited to see how everyone was responding to the material and how ecstatic they were to be a part of it.”

With a broader fan base than the Twilight franchise, The Hunger Games pulled in bigger crowds than the top-grossing installment of that series. The Twilight Saga: New Moon leads that franchise with a $142.8 million opening weekend in 2009.

Women and girls have made up as much as 80 per cent of the audience for the Twilight flicks. Though it features a female lead, The Hunger Games drew more balanced crowds, with girls and women accounting for 61 per cent of audiences, according to distributor Lionsgate.


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released today.

1. The Hunger Games, $155 million.

2. 21 Jump Street, $21.3 million ($5.3 million international).

3. Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax, $13.1 million ($5.5 million international).

4. John Carter, $5 million ($22.2 million international).

5. Act of Valor, $2.1 million.

6. Project X, $2 million.

7. A Thousand Words, $1.9 million.

8. October Baby, $1.7 million.

9. Safe House, $1.39 million ($2.3 million international).

10. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, $1.37 million.

Just Posted

Red Deer massage therapist not guilty of sexual assault

Judge said he had reasonable doubt and must acquit

Update: Nine dead, 16 injured in van incident authorities call a horrific attack

TORONTO — Nine people died and 16 others were injured when a… Continue reading

Watch: Flood watch remains for Waskasoo Creek

Red Deer crews monitoring creek

Warm temperatures this week for Red Deer

23 C forecast for Saturday

WATCH: Central Alberta dancers take over Red Deer College with their moves

Danceworks Central Alberta Dance Festival is now in its 38th year

Andersen leads Maple Leafs in win over Bruins to force Game 7

Maple Leafs 3 Bruins 1 (Best of seven game series tied at… Continue reading

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Anti-straw movement should consider people with disabilities, advocates say

TORONTO — Some Canadians who rely on plastic straws are calling on… Continue reading

Doctors must get better at diagnosing patients with darker skin: Dermatologists

TORONTO — About a month ago, a frustrated Emma Schmidt turned to… Continue reading

Loblaw Companies tax court trial over Barbadian banking subsidiary starts

TORONTO — A tax court trial involving Loblaw Companies Ltd. and allegations… Continue reading

As trial winds down, DA downplays Cosby travel records

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Prosecutors highlighted gaps in Bill Cosby’s travel records on… Continue reading

Summer Movie Preview: Hollywood roars back into action

LOS ANGELES — Summer starts early this year in Hollywood with the… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month