Following last week’s 21 Jump Street was another highly acclaimed serving as The Hunger Games opened with a records-stuffed feast at the domestic box office this weekend. The adaptation of the massively popular young adult book series debuted above any of the Twilight, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek, Toy Story, Transformers, or Marvel superhero movies. Estimated numbers indicate that The Hunger Games‘ $155 million fell just short of The Dark Knight‘s $158.4 million four years ago and all-time launch king Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2‘s $169.1 million last summer.
The news for Lionsgate’s highest budgeted ($80 million) and highest grossing movie ever (beating Fahrenheit 9/11‘s $119.2 entire run in two days) just kept getting better and better over the weekend. The widest release ever for a non-sequel (15th widest overall) translated into the highest grossing non-sequel midnight launch ever Friday morning, which later also became the biggest opening day for a non-sequel ever (fifth best overall), the second highest Saturday total ever (behind Spider-Man 3), and ultimately the biggest opening weekend of all time for a non-sequel (way above Alice in Wonderland‘s $116.1 million), good for third highest ever overall.
Last seen in a supporting role in X-Men: First Class, the surprising Marvel prequel that was ultimately honored in several of our Best of 2011 lists, Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence solely headlines a blockbuster film for the first time in her young career. Excluded from our selections of most anticipated movies of 2012, The Hunger Games and Lawrence now have surely caught the world’s eye after an appetizing but not particularly salivating trailer. The film’s historic commercial and critical success very likely means that the rest of the literary trilogy will be adapted into movies as well.
Here were the top five in the domestic box office last weekend via BOM:
- The Hunger Games — Weekend Gross: $155 million — Total Gross: $155 million (new)
- 21 Jump Street– Weekend Gross: $21.3 million — Total Gross: $71.1 million (#1 last week)
- Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax — Weekend Gross: $13.1 million — Total Gross: $177.3 million (#2 last week)
- John Carter — Weekend Gross: $5 million — Total Gross: $62.3 million (#3 last week)
- Act of Valor — Weekend Gross: $2.5 million — Total Gross: $66 million (#5 last week)