We all know The Hunger Games is going to have a massive opening weekend, and it should continue to be a smashing success in the US and around the world. Just how big is it going to be though? The experts at BoxOfficeMojo weigh in with their weekend forecast, offering up some insights and predictions.
The Hunger Games is set to play on at least 10,000 screens at 4,137 locations, which is the widest release ever for a non-sequel and for a movie released by a non-major studio (in this case, it’s from mid-major studio Lionsgate). With pre-sales at nearly-unprecedented levels, it now looks like a foregone conclusion that The Hunger Games will score one of the top openings in movie history.
While romance is the main focus in Twilight, in The Hunger Games it takes a backseat to an action-packed survival story set in a dystopian future. Thanks to these sci-fi elements, The Hunger Games has appealed to young men in a way that Twilight never really could.
…this is by far Lionsgate’s biggest release ever—their current highest-grossing movie is Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 at $119.2 million, which is a figure that The Hunger Games could legitimately eclipse within its first three days in theaters. Largely due to expectations that The Hunger Games will be a massive hit, Lionsgate’s stock price has risen 75 percent so far this year…
They hired a reputable director … and an Oscar-nominated up-and-coming star … , and shot a reportedly faithful adaptation on a budget under $80 million after tax rebates. Lionsgate then spent a light $45 million on prints and advertising that focused almost exclusively on the events that occur prior to the games in order to set up the high stakes without revealing too much. The icing on the cake is the surprisingly strong reviews—as of Thursday afternoon, it’s at 87 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes—which should help generate additional ticket sales from more discerning adult audiences.
Industry tracking is showing incredibly high levels of interest across all ages and both genders, with the greatest interest obviously coming from younger women (though young men aren’t really far behind). According to Fandango, it has sold out over 2,500 showtimes and currently ranks as the third-highest advanced ticket seller ever…
The Hunger Games should open higher than 2010′s Alice in Wonderland ($116.1 million), which will give it the top opening ever for a January-April release and also the best debut for a non-sequel. The big question is whether it can pass The Twilight Saga: New Moon’s $142.8 million opening (best in the Twilight franchise)—while that is entirely possible, I’m going to play it a little safer with a forecast below $140 million.
The Hunger Games is also opening in at least two-thirds of the international marketplace, and should wind up scoring over $200 million worldwide (domestic plus foreign) this weekend.
Weekend Forecast (March 23-25)
1. The Hunger Games – $135 million
Sounds good. Do you have any predictions?