Friday Report: 'Hunger Games' Kills With Fifth-Best Opening Day Ever

by Ray Subers
The Hunger Games

March 24, 2012

Building on a strong midnight launch, The Hunger Games had one of the best opening days ever at an estimated $68.25 million. That ranks fifth on the all-time list behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1 million), New Moon ($72.7 million), Breaking Dawn Part 1 ($71.6 million) and Eclipse ($68.5 million). It wound up slightly ahead of The Dark Knight ($67.2 million), and also topped Alice in Wonderland ($40.8 million) to set a new record for a non-sequel.

The Hunger Games looks even more impressive when subtracting its $19.74 million midnight gross—throughout normal business hours, the movie earned $48.5 million, which is actually more than Deathly Hallows Part 2 made in that time ($47.57 million). In fact, The Hunger Games only ranks behind Spider-Man 3 ($49.8 million) and The Dark Knight ($48.7 million) in non-midnight opening day grosses.

The Hunger Games received a strong "A" CinemaScore, and should finish the weekend with anywhere from $135 million to $160 million.

It may be hard to believe, but there were actually other movies in theaters on Friday. Last weekend's winner 21 Jump Street fell 53 percent to an estimated $6.25 million, which brought its eight-day total to a very solid $56 million (right on par with Jonah Hill's Superbad). The Lorax also had a steep decline, falling 53 percent to $3.2 million for a total of $167.4 million. The movie that was hit hardest by The Hunger Games, though, was John Carter—the sci-fi epic shed some screens and plummeted 66 percent to an estimated $1.36 million. It's now made $58.7 million, and has absolutely no chance of closing anywhere near the $100 million mark.

In sixth place, abortion drama October Baby opened to an estimated $605,000 from 390 locations. The movie was briefly released last October and earned $199,442 before being picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films for this more substantial release.

Related Stories:
'Hunger Games' Sets Non-Sequel Midnight Record
Weekend Forecast: 'The Hunger Games' Targets Record Books
'Harry Potter' Conjures Opening Day Record
'New Moon' Shatters Opening Day Record
'Breaking Dawn' Bites Into Third-Highest Day Ever
'Eclipse' Breaks Wednesday Record But Falls Short of 'New Moon'

Related Chart:
Grosses for Friday, March 23, 2012
All Time: Opening Days
All Time: Friday Grosses

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