Opening day of Lionsgate film “The Hunger Games” at 4,137 theaters saw the seventh biggest midnight box office showing in history.
Boxofficeguru.com reported that the movie grossed $19.7 million on shows that began at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. The revenue marked the best post-midnight total for a film that was a non-sequel.
The only movies that have drawn more on Fridays were three from the “Twilight” series and three from the “Harry Potter” franchise. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" is the current leader, having brought in $43.5M on a midnight showing in July 2011.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Hunger Games grossed $68.3 million at the box office on Friday -- the top figure ever for a non-sequel and the fifth highest total of all time. Helping the film’s totals is its appeal to males as well as females. Males comprised 39 percent of its audience on Friday, while 61 percent in attendance were female.
Variety observes that early estimates see the film with a chance to earn over $140 million on its opening weekend. According to The Wall Street Journal, online ticket seller Fandango reported 3,500 sellouts for the movie, and it accounted for 97 percent of their sales on Friday.
CBS Philly reported that dozens of fans were lined up at the AMC in the Cherry Hill Mall to see “The Hunger Games” Thursday night. The majority were younger fans interested in how the books would translate into a PG-13 movie.
The top three movies in the U.S. for Friday look to be last week's leader "21 Jump Street" and "The Lorax."