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

10/11 'Martian' Holds Strong at #1, 'Pan' Flops & 'Steve Jobs' Big in Limited Release
10/8 Forecast: WB's 'Pan' Faces Stiff Competition and Low Expectations
10/4 'The Martian' Opens With Strong $55 Million Weekend
10/1 Forecast: Can 'The Martian' Top 'Gravity's October Record?
9/27 'Hotel Transylvania 2' Boasts New September Opening Record
9/24 Forecast: 'Transylvania', 'Intern' & 'Inferno' Highlight Stacked Weekend
> MORE: News | Features
WEEKEND: Actuals, 'Martian #1' Again!
DAILY: Friday Estimates, 'Martian' #1
ALL TIME: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Finishes Domestic Run, Finishing 8th All-time
DAILY: Thursday, 10/8 (44 tracked)
WEEKLY: Oct. 2-8 (104 tracked)
SCHEDULE: Open Road Dates 'Snowden' for May '16
SCHEDULE: New Marvel, Pixar and Disney Movies Dated
DAILY: Wednesday, 10/7 (41 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 10/6 (40 tracked)
DAILY: Monday, 10/5 (40 tracked)
WEEKLY: Sept 25 - Oct 1 (106 movie tracked)
ALL TIME: Worst Wide Openings