Weekend Receipts: Hunger Games Claims Insane $155 Million

Lionsgate needed it, and Lionsgate got it: The beleaguered studio's Hunger Games gamble paid off in record-shattering fashion over the weekend, milking smart social-media strategy with old-fashioned saturation marketing — not to mention an honest-to-goodness good film — on the way to $155 million in three days. $155 million. As in the third biggest opening ever. You weekend receipts are here.

1. The Hunger Games
Gross: $155,000,000 (new)
Screens: 4,137 (PSA $37,467)
Weeks: 1

And let's not forget the nearly $60 million pulled in abroad, bringing the first adaptation of Suzanne Collins's dystopian bestsellers to an early $215 million tally overall. I have a few things to say about this a little later in the day, but for now let's just tip our caps and/or stew jealously at the volume of the numbers here — the third-largest opening ever behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Dark Knight and the runaway biggest opening for a non-sequel. All that's left now is to predict the week-two drop. 55 percent? 60 percent? Less? Take your best shot in the comments.

2. 21 Jump Street
Gross: $21,300,000 ($71,051,000)
Screens: 3,121 (PSA $6,825)
Weeks: 2 (Change: -41.3%)

In other, vastly secondary but still-intriguing box-office news, how about 21 Jump Street holding on with a decent week-two score against outrageous competition? Watch them wind up counterprogramming sequels against Hunger Games films through at least 2016.

3. Dr. Seuss's The Lorax
Gross: $13,100,000 ($177,300,000)
Screens: 3,677 (PSA: $3,563)
Weeks: 4 (Change: -42.5%)

Another solid week. Now pinch your nose, because...

4. John Carter
Gross: $5,014,000 ($62,347,000)
Screens: 3,212 (PSA $1,561)
Weeks: 3 (Change: -63.1%)

Money hemorrhaging aside, I had every confidence after week one that Disney could muscle this to $100 million in the States. At this rate, however — I mean, a 63 percent drop? Even against Hunger Games that's outrageous — John Carter will be lucky to make it to $90 million. On the bright side, Disney is doing nearly triple the business overseas, enough to make $325 million overall a possibility. Feel free to bet on that while you're at it.

5. Act of Valor
Gross: $2,062,000 ($65,942,000)
Screens: 2,922 (PSA $931)
Weeks: 5 (Change: -44.8%)

I went back a couple years before essentially losing interest in the previous film to finish in the weekend top five with a PSA under $1,000. It's rare! Congrats to Relativity as well, I guess.

[Figures via Box Office Mojo]

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  • Yashar says:

    My bet for Hunger Games' drop is 65 to 70 percent. Not because it's a bad movie or anything but because after such a huge opening, 2nd week's numbers just can't compete.

    • Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston says:

      Unless of course the film becomes one of those people want to so fuse themselves to, they're lost to seeing it as "simply a movie." By the summer we might encounter more than a few friends who've seen it ten-plus times. From their point of view, they're not fixated, stuck, but most sympathetically respondant to its carrion call. The rest of yous, sans soul-mate, are left wholly stirred by whatever next (and next and next and next) clump of stimuli-provokers head your way.

  • HG Fan says:

    it's really not surprising that HG raked in so much this weekend, there's so much about it that appeals to a broad audience, especially younger folks who are most likely to go to the movies over the wekend

  • Jake says:

    Anyone else disappointed in HG? Really wanted to like it but found it lacking on so many levels. I have no problems with handheld doc style shooting in the appropriate places, but hated its use in this film. Just felt lazy. Like it was covering up for the bad production design. On that note... when I could see the production design, I thought it was ugly, cheap, and just bad. The editing was annoying. What has happened to the craft of Hollywood artisans? They used to be the best storytellers in the world. Now they cover up that lack of abilities with poor camera work and bad editing.

    All of this would have been forgivable if the characters were awesome, but I didn't connect with any of them. Katniss was never tested. She never was forced to face the reality that in order to survive, she had to kill other people. Yet the whole point of the movie was putting teens into an arena where only one survives by killing the others. I've heard that in the books (I didn't read them) that Haymitch's alcoholism was a result of the terrible things he had to do win the hunger games (which they barely referenced in the movie, thus making his character lame too). Yet Katniss never seems to have to do anything similar. It's always some kind of self defense reflexes when she kills someone. Or someone else conveniently kills someone for her. Therefore, her character never seems to grow. And yet, few protagonists in any films are given a greater challenge than "the only way to survive is to kill others." How could they screw that up?

    Another example of bad building of relationships... (SPOILER ALERT) was the death of the Rue (sp?) character. As I watched how much time and melodrama was dedicated to this death, I thought, "this must be more significant in the books." (which I've heard it was). But in the movie, they hardly developed the relationship between Katniss and this young character at all. You see one reference to her following Katniss around in the training, she points out a beehive to her in the game, she puts some leaves on her, they talk about mockingjays, then she gets gored. Would it have killed us to have them do something significant together to show some bonding? Even some better conversations would have helped. I guess I just expect better screenwriting than the average viewer since this film has had an amazing box office weekend and everyone is loving it.

    And I haven't even gotten to any of the plot points that seem curious to include rather than actual important story points. I just have a hard time believing that the training sequence in the book could be that pointless and void of character building and relationship building like it was in the movie.

    Oh well. I would rather see ten John Carter sequels before a HG sequel. Yet everyone seemed to hate that movie.

    Maybe I'm crazy. But then again, Twilight made tons of money and those movies are total crap.

    • Dimo says:

      I hear ya! I feel like the whole movie was made for people who read the books, and if you didn't, you got a glossed over/medicore film with one strong performance.

      • Jericho says:

        I tend to agree to a point. The "why" just was not there. Which in a 2hour+ movie, really SHOULD have been there. Things were glossed over that needed to be invested in. The movie left me happy and I believe it was a good movie, but lacking in ways. I left the theater believing that they shot these scenes of exposition but all of them were cut for time and flow.

        Here's hoping that the eventual director's cut BluRay will help flesh out the film, even if it does become a 3hour opus.

  • The Winchester says:

    I won $3 from a scratch off lotto ticket on Saturday.

    So it looks like everyone came out ok this weekend.

  • Abhik says:

    obviously you can't expect the movie to be as good as the book. in fact, i stopped watching harry potter after they deleted the Quidditch tournament in part 4. So when i went to watch HG i was prepared to be disappointed but surprisingly the movie isn't that bad, but ranges from average to almost GOOD. The flashbacks were bad, but the overall movie with "safe and sound" - T.S and other songs, in its tracklist, a strong female protagonist , and their way of describing the muttations through the host of the HG, makes it smewhat nice. On the downside - choice of male characters made me cry, the poverty, Katniss' childhood, hunger and desperation was never shown . I AGREE THAT THESE THINGS ARE ABSTRACT AND COULD NOT BEEN DEPICTED ON A MOVIE BUT WHERE IS THE "HUNGER " PART OF THE HUNGER GAMES ? I MEAN THEY JUST SHOWED KATNISS STROLLING ABOUT, EATING ,DRINKING AND SLEEPING IN THE ARENA WHEREAS IN THE BOOK KATNISS STRUGGLED HUNGRY AND THIRSTY THROUGH THE FOREST (in search of water) AND DESPERATELY TRIED TO PRESERVE HER BODY HEAT IN THE BITTER COLD OF THE ARENA. president snow ? looks like dumbeldore and i kept wondering why they are showing this old gardener again and again ? (i mistook seneca for snow courtesy to horrible translation here !) i won't say anything about the romance because it was supposed to look fake, but what is this shit about TEAM PEETA AND TEAM GALE ? FOR GOD'S SAKE THIS AIN'T TWILIGHT