Weekend Box Office – THE HUNGER GAMES Hits $155 Million for Third Highest Opening of All Time!

     March 25, 2012


The worst-kept secret in show biz is out: The Hunger Games is a hit of record-breaking proportions.  From its 10,000 prints at 4,137 locations, the film earned an estimated $155 million this weekend, blowing away the previous March record of $116.1 million.  The figure also stands as the third-highest opening of all-time and the single highest debut for a non-sequel. Score one for breathless, wall-to-wall media saturation!

Title Weekend Total
1 The Hunger Games $155, 000,000 $155
2 21 Jump Street $21,300,000 $71
3 The Lorax $13,100,000 $177.3
4 John Carter $5,010,000 $62.3
5 Act of Valor $2,062,000 $65.9
6 Project X $1,950,000 $51.7
7 A Thousand Words $1,900,000 $15.4
8 October Baby $1,718,000 $1.9
9 Safe House $1,390,000 $122.5
10 Journey 2 $1,370,000 $97.1

the-hunger-games-character-poster-katnissQuick!  Where were you when you first heard that The Hunger Games was going to be an enormous hit?  Was it last summer, when the cast started showing up on magazine covers?  Or November, when the first trailer hit?  In many ways, the success of The Hunger Games was made inevitable by the number of fans Suzanne Collins counted for her teen-lit trilogy and by the way that those fans were courted at every stage of the filmmaking process. So the only question left to answer was how high would The Hunger Games get?

Earlier this year, when box office watchers imagined a big opening for The Hunger Games we were expecting something rivaling the all-time March record set by Alice in Wonderland in 2010.  That film had 150 years of brand recognition behind it, the most bankable star in the business in the lead and a 3D price premium to boot.  But as Friday approached and Gamers started lining up, projections for the film’s opening began to shoot higher and higher: $125 million, $142 and then $160 million. By Friday’s midnight launch it all got a little overheated, but damn if it didn’t work!

Just as prevailing expectations that John Carter would flop helped keep audiences away from that film’s premiere, expectations that The Hunger Games was going to be the next giant ‘event’ brought audiences unfamiliar with the books into theatres in droves. Hell if they were going to let another Twilight Saga come and go without claiming a piece of the current cultural zeitgeist, right? And, speaking of that other young-adult phenom, how does The Hunger Games compare? In its first three days it topped the two-highest weekend performers of the Twilight series, New Moon ($142.8 million) and Breaking Dawn Part 1 ($138.1). Those films now rank at number five and six on the all-time opening weekend chart.  Of course, we will be revisiting these numbers when Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits in November.

john-carter-movie-image-25The overwhelming presence of The Hunger Games did not leave much room for other players this weekend.  Last weekend’s big hit, 21 Jump Street earned an estimated $21.3 million for a decline of just 41% while Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax edged closer to the $200 million mark on its fourth weekend in theatres.  Once again, John Carter had a near monopoly on bad news as it ceded precious territory to The Hunger Games and dropped by another 63%.

The only other new face in the top ten belongs to October Baby, a limited release from the folks behind recent faith-based hits like Fireproof and Courageous.  The film, which concerns the spiritually-uplifting subject of abortion, opened briefly last fall and was re-released this weekend in 390 locations.

That big, big number one number victory put this weekend up by 70% overall from the same frame in 2011.  And the news is only set to get better for the folks at Lionsgate.  Not only has The Hunger Games given the studio its biggest opening of all-time (by far), but the film is also breaking big overseas. Early estimates put the film’s international total at over $59 million in three days.  That means that, worldwide, The Hunger Games has already earned over $210 million – well above all but the most crazily-optimistic of forecasts.  Tremble, Wrath of the Titans and Mirror, Mirror, tremble.  This is one event that isn’t going to wrap up by next weekend.


  • AlexHeyNa

    Holy sh*t! As someone who has little interest in seeing this movie, this is completely unexpected! I think I may have to see it now to see what all the hype’s about!

    And are the first two biggest openings Harry Potter 8 and The Dark Knight?

    • Kanwar

      Yup,…Deathly hallows 2 n dark knight….But dark knight rises n avengers gonna break these records…

      • João Paulo

        I agree, is huge for The Hunger Games, but The Avengers and TDKR gonna be high numbers.

  • Daniela

    Twilight can SUCK IT!!!!!!!!

    • juan marco

      Twilight doesn’t have to suck anything. Both properties are under the same studio now. Their execs are rolling in the money.

  • Kanwar

    really!! TREMBLE for Wrath of the Titans….Should easily beat Hunger Games in the Overseas market…Domestically Cant say..

    • monk

      There is not a chance in hell. Wrath will be lucky to get a third of that.

    • Hrothgar

      Not only have I not heard a single person mention Wrath of the Titans, but I had no idea it was opening next week…and I’m constantly reading entertainment news.

      Also, the first one was crazy boring. I’ll be seeing Hunger Games next week instead.

  • mark tornits

    can you really say this and still have any credibility?

    “From its 10,000 prints” ???

    how many of those were actually prints and not digital files?

  • Tim


  • Xavier

    Damn, right! My friends and I went to see it on Thursday midnight opening to help out and make sure the numbers blow away the competitions….. again on Friday night, and Saturday. We want the sequels to come out strong! If they are not impressed with the income with the first film, it could hurt the budget for the other sequels.

    Making movies is not cheap; as a fan, it is our responsibility to help out to make sure they don’t cheapen the sequels—you know low visual and sound effects. Now they can afford to hire great actors to play the parts of Finnick, Johanna and the rest…… May the odds be ever in OUR favor!

    • ScaredForMovies

      3 Nights in a row! It can’t possibly be that good. But I am impressed by your devotion.

  • rocky

    Girls rule the world. Where were the men when it came time to support original stuff like John Carter. Yet they all get swept up by all the tween hype.
    Gotta see it to see what the hype is about? You people make me sick

  • Blob

    Media saturation – helped along willingly by outlets such as this. Come on, guys, how many stories on this movie do we need, especially from Adam (who’s gone onto insert Hunger Games stories in non-Hunger Games stories).

    I’d like to know; is Collider being paid to advertise this movie inside the content of its stories? If not, then someone’s gotten snookered…

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Shatter records…Agengers? really? LMAO!

    • Bryce Forestieri

      I mean Avengers*, but really? records? damn…ya’ll better talk to people

      • Ur mom

        The Avengers WILL set records whether you like it or not!! There is no doubt. >:D

    • Mark

      Iron Man alone earned $600 million. Then Cap, then Thor, plus you have other heroes in there. It should reach around 900 million at least.

  • Tim

    The movie isn’t probably that great…

    I expect a big drop next week.

    • terry

      I agree. Next week when the hype blows over it will be all over.

  • Strong Enough

    yea The Avengers isn’t setting any records.

    Dark Knight Rises yes, but Avengers? Gtfoh

    the only people exciting for Avengers is fanboys and we all know they don’t go see movies. Too busy playing video games all day

    • Ur mom

      Nope. The Avengers will be STRONG ENOUGH to set records!! May not beat TDKR, but will be successful.

      • rob

        The Avengers will very likely be a big movie, this is true. But it won’t be a record setter.

        Fact, aside from Iron Man and it’s sequel, none of the movies leading up to The Avengers has even topped 200 million. Also fact, while both Iron Man films passed 300 million in gross, neither one came even close to breaking an opening record. The first one was short of 100 million by a few million dollars and the second, while opening with $128 million, didn’t break the top 5 openings of all time on release.

        Based on the previous history I’d say Avengers will hit 300 million, but it’s certainly not going to come anywhere near enough to break any records opening weekend.

      • runaway

        Hmm, i don’t think TDKR is going to be as great as everyone seems to think it will be. Opening weekend, sure. But with all this eager hype, well, I’ll be surprised if I’m not disappointed.

  • Scurvy

    Who the hell went to see this movie?!

    I know one person who went to see this because his wife dragged him. I don’t know anyone who was hyped to see this like they are TDKR, Avengers and such.

    I would love to see the demo breakdowns of this. I’m guessing mostly under 18, even gender split for under 18 and then mostly female in every demo over 18.

    • Scurvy

      Apparently I was right.


      Largest demo is under 18(39%). 61% of the audience was female with most of the 39% males being young boys.

      • Corr

        I’d like to point out, that link you gave only gave information for Friday. When you add in the entire weekend, 56% of the audience was 25 and over. Hardly made up mostly of 18 or younger.
        I even went to a showing of it today, and I would say easily 70% or more of the people in it were over 25.

      • Corr

        I saw a showing of it just about an hour ago. I loved it, and it deserves to have an opening this big.

        And to those people saying “Well, it’ll have a big drop next weekend” No duh. So does just about every other movie that opens this large including Harry Potter and Twilight.
        Even it it drops as large as 70% next weekend, it’s still going to be a Box-Office hit. It’s not going to affect that.

    • iamtryingtobelieve

      22 year old male here who watched it twice this weekend.

    • Hrothgar

      Pretty much everyone I know went to see it. And not one of those was a teenage girl. Although more power to them, for supporting a strong female character.

      I will see it next week, and I am excited. Although I don’t know about the other two parts, since I didn’t like the second or third books.

  • terry

    The hunger games? Really! I bet those number are fudged big time. And there ain’t an A lister in the crowd expect Jennifer, Sutherland and Stanley Tucci.

    • dr spaceman

      You forgot Woody Harrelson, he’s a bigger A lister Lawerence and Tucci.

      • Marisa

        Isn’t the point that we need new faces in Hollywood? As a fan of the books I wan’t thrilled with the male casting of Peeta or Gale, but seeing Winters Bone before Jennifer was nominated for the Oscar, she is Katniss and was a perfect choice for the role. Still reserving judgement on the final product, trying to miss the crowds by seeing it on Wednesday night with my girls.

  • Mr.Orange

    The movie was OKAY. Not that great but certainly not as bad as twilight. Over rated yes, but entertaining for sure.

    • Sara

      Yes. I agree.

  • Anon

    Well thats it then, a shit load of teen movies to come!!!!!!!!

    • O.R.

      Ender’s Game certainly will try to become the next teen thing. But, honestly, have you seen THG? Its main demographic is female teens, but it was made in a way that appeals to far older people of both genres. I am a 21-year old male who’s seen the film twice, once with my friends, most of them males, and once with my brother. We all loved it. The movie works in many levels and people outside of its intended target will find something to like. I don’t mind if a shit load of teen movies come as long as they have the quality of this one.

      Though no more Twilights, please.

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  • Derek

    This was a really well done film. The director made you feel like you were a part of the film instead of just watching it. It actually holds up amazingly well on further viewings because of the way it was filmed using lots of pov and close ups.

    The audience at midnight was obviously young people primarily, but on Saturday there was a huge age range from 15 to 60 at the theater I went to. The gender was also split pretty evenly which I found surprising. I thought for sure the audience would be more female than male, but as a guy I was happy to see a more even split.

    I would really suggest people think more in line with Harry Potter for the appeal of this story. It’s exciting, well produced entertainment that has a heart and soul.

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