‘Hunger Games’ sets US box office record

Agence France-Presse
The picture also scored the third biggest movie opening ever

HUNGER FOR 'HUNGER GAMES.' Movie goers enter the theatre for the opening of "The Hunger Games" March 22, 2012 at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. The science fiction action-drama film is based on the novel by Suzanne Collins. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT

LOS ANGELES, California (AFP) – The highly anticipated action film phenomenon “The Hunger Games” set a record at the North American box office with debut weekend sales of $152.5 million, industry figures confirmed Monday, March 26.

The movie, about one teenage girl’s fight to win a death match reality show in a post-apocalyptic world, enjoyed the biggest ever opening weekend for a non-sequel film, said box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Armies of fans had flocked from minutes after midnight Friday to see the movie, based on a book for young adults by Suzanne Collins, in which children compete to the death on live television in a dystopian future.

Estimates Sunday had put its box office earnings at $155 million, but the figure was cut slightly with full takings counted for the movie by Santa Monica-based Lionsgate films.

The picture also scored the third biggest movie opening ever, after last year’s series-climaxing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” ($169 million) and the 2008 Batman movie “The Dark Knight” ($158 million).

In a distant second on the weekend box office were the youthful policemen of 1980s remake “21 Jump Street,” which pulled in $20.5 million on its second weekend in theaters.

The film with underachieving cops Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, sent on an undercover counternarcotics mission at a high school, had a two-week haul of $70.2 million.

Third was the animated film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” with a $13.2 million weekend haul and $177.4 million in the bank after four weekends on the big screen.

Fourth was the Disney critical flop — and huge loss-maker — “John Carter,” based on books by “Tarzan” author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film about an ex-Civil War soldier magically transported to Mars earned $5 million.

Disney earlier announced that it expected to lose $200 million on the movie in its second fiscal quarter.

Rounding off the top 10 are “Act Of Valor” ($2 million), “Project X” ($2 million), “A Thousand Words” ($2 million), “October Baby” in its opening weekend ($1.7 million), “Safe House” ($1.4 million) and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” ($1.4 million). – Agence France-Presse

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