Early box-office figures are in for “The Hunger Games,” one of the most eagerly anticipated box-office openings in years, and the movie appears to be in striking range of the opening-weekend record set by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.”
Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” opened just after midnight, early Friday, March 23, 2012, and by noon (PT) it had piled up nearly $40 million in matinee receipts, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That figure included a healthy $19.7 million from midnight screenings.
Based on those numbers, observers are projecting an opening between $140 million and $150 million. The “Potter” finale holds the record with a $169.2 million opening, which included $43.5 million for its midnight opening runs and a $91 million tally for its first day.
The THR piece notes: “The difference in midnight grosses for the two movies means that ‘Hunger Games’ probably won’t reach $90 million on Friday or $169.2 million for the weekend, although all bets are off considering how well it is performing.”
“Hunger Games” will almost certainly set an opening-weekend record for non-sequels, the report notes. The mark currently belongs to “Alice in Wonderland” with $116 million.
The movie can make the overall top 5 by beating “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” currently in the No. 5 spot with an opening of $138.1 million — and “Hunger Games” was pacing ahead of that movie in early results.