The Hungers Games Erupts with Massive $68.25 Million Opening Day

The Hungers Games Erupts with Massive $68.25 Million Opening DayThe Hunger Games vaulted off its big $19.74 million from midnight showings on Thursday to post the fifth biggest opening day in movie history and all-time biggest opening day for a non-sequel with an amazing $68.25 million.

Opening in over 4,000 theaters nationwide, 268 of which are IMAX, The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, and based on the young adult novels by Suzanne Collins, has been building momentum on a daily basis as tween and adults alike have bought into the hype. Not too long ago, early estimates were pegging the opening weekend for The Hunger Games somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million. After a huge opening day and “A” CinemaScore rating, Lionsgate Entertainment will be all smiles when The Hunger Games finishes its opening three days in theaters somewhere in the neighborhood of $140 to $150 million.

The Hunger Games easily took the top opening day for a non-sequel record from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland which opened with $40.8 million. On the sequel front, only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1 million), The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($72.7 million), The Dark Knight ($71.6 million) and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($68.5 million) opened bigger in their first 24 hours of release. The top five could get juggled yet again from either/or this summer’s The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, or this fall’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Far, far down in second place was 21 Jumpstreet which slid 53 percent in its second Friday of release, down to $6.25 million. It should finish the weekend in the mid-teens and push its gross box office total to somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million.

Rounding out the top five were The Lorax with $3.2 million, John Carter with $1.36 million and Project X with $625,000.

We’ll be back Sunday afternoon with the complete weekend box office studio estimates that will show whether The Hunger Games had legs through the weekend and topped $150 million, or whether it ran out of gas and fell below $140 million. Wherever it finishes, The Hunger Games will carve out a spot amongst the top weekend openers of all time.

Read our The Hunger Games review.

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