There is nothing at all to be ashamed of if you come in third behind gigant-enormous revenue-takers like first place’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which grossed $169.2 million at its opening weekend last year; or second-place’s “The Dark Night” which brought in a cool $158.4 million on its opening weekend in 2008.
And third place it is for “The Hunger Games,” which opened this past weekend, raking in a pretty $155 million. But perhaps the comparison is not a fair one- after all, “Harry Potter” was the last in a long series of movies about the slowly maturing wizard and his pals; while “The Dark Knight” was also the concluding film in a series extolling the good and bad side of Gotham City and Batman. In contrast, “The Hunger Games” is not a sequel to anything. It is, however, based on the first book of a best-selling series written by Suzanne Collins, and more films based on the rest of the series are scheduled to be released in the future.
With such a great beginning it is no wonder that close associates of the movie are getting excited.
"This is the birth of a franchise. To launch in this fashion is mindboggling,"
said David Spitz, head of distribution at Lionsgate, the owner of the rights to the “Hunger Games.”
“The Hunger Games” also distinguished itself as the film with the best start which opened not during the popular summer months or holiday seasons. Estimates made on Sunday by the studio says that “The Hunger Games” beat out the former March record-holder, the 2010 release of, “Alice in Wonderland” by an impressive $40 million. “Alice” earned $116.1 million for its studio.
The extreme popularity of the book was reflected in the reaction of the fans to the release of the film. Audiences lined up long before the first screenings and waited until the doors opened at midnight outside the theaters. Fans also came dressed as their favorite characters from the book.
"That type of behavior puts it on the level of the 'Star Treks' and 'Star Wars,'" Spitz said. "I was so excited to see how everyone was responding to the material and how ecstatic they were to be a part of it."