“The Hunger Games” Scores Big With Midnight Debut

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Fans are so hungry for “The Hunger Games” that Hollywood’s buzzing about an opening weekend to rival the $140 million debuts of some of the “Twilight” movies.

“The Hunger Games” officially hit the big screen with a midnight screening on Friday, and insiders are predicting big things for movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel.

According to Variety, “early returns from Thursday midnight screenings of ‘The Hunger Games’ are tracking north of $25 million.”


Overseas figures are also reportedly high, according Deadline.com. The site’s founder, journalist Nikki Finke, says international numbers are “gigantic.” Although numbers haven’t been confirmed, sources tell Finke “The Hunger Games” had a $1.8 million opening night in Australia, surpassing the Aussie debuts of “Iron Man” and “Quantum of Solace.”

Earlier this week, John Fithian, president of The National Association of Theater Owners, predicted the film would open between $115 million and $120 million. That means “The Hunger Games” would beat the previous record for March, topping “Alice in Wonderland,” which opened to more than $116 million in 2010. Other insiders say “The Hunger Games” could have a whopping $130 million-to-$140 million opening weekend.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” holds the record for the biggest opening ever with $169.2 million.

With all of the hype, buzz and marketing surrounding the “The Hunger Games,” it won’t come as a surprise if it breaks box office records.

“The Hunger Games” may have an edge, too. Female fans drive “Twilight,” while “The Hunger Games” has strong interest from both sexes.

Based on the first of three best-sellers by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games” stars Jennifer Lawrence as a teenager hurled into a televised fight to the death among other youths in post-apocalyptic North America.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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