Friday, March 23, 2012
'The Hunger Games' earns a record-breaking $19.7 million at midnight screenings
From ew, The Games have officially begun!
Last night, The Hunger Games grossed a truly staggering $19.7 million from midnight showings across the country — the highest midnight total ever for a non-sequel, and the seventh highest midnight total ever (behind three Harry Potters and three Twilights). After only a few hours, it’s clear that the film is already a smash, and it’s almost certainly headed for a debut well above the $100 million mark.
Sure, the overnight figure can’t compare to the $43.5 million that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 conjured up at midnight shows last year (on its way to $169.3 million — the highest opening weekend of all time), or the $30.3 million that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 found at midnight on its way to $138.1 million, but it’s likely that The Hunger Games, which doesn’t have the same amount of built-in sequel anticipation, won’t face the same weekend frontloadedness as those titles. Saturday and Sunday grosses should prove quite sturdy. Back in 2008, The Dark Knight earned $18.5 million at midnight, but still managed a stunning $158 million debut — the second highest debut of all time — proving that not every blockbuster makes a full 25 percent of its opening weekend gross at midnight.
Based on this $19.7 million figure, The Hunger Games should take in at least $50 million on Friday and could reach as high as $150 million over the full weekend frame — although that estimation is very bullish. My fellow box office prognosticating colleague John Young is predicting a more sensible $130 million weekend. We’ll have to wait and see see how high it climbs, so stay tuned to EW.com for box office updates throughout the weekend.