March 21, 2012

“The Hunger Games” and Theatre Counts (Pop Culture Apocalypose Minus 2)

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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With the exception of some whose hearts are set on 12:01AM screenings tomorrow night, no one should have to complain that they weren’t able to see THE HUNGER GAMES because there weren’t any seats to be had.  According to Deadline, the movie is scheduled to play in 4137 theatres in the US and Canada, and because multiplexes require multiple prints to service their many auditoriums, there will be an estimated 10,000 prints in circulation this weekend.  Even with a running time of 142 minutes, this means that in much of the country,  shows will start every 30-60 minutes.

At 4137 theatres, Hunger Games will have the widest opening in history for a non-sequel (but only the 15th highest of all time if sequels are counted).  The widest opening ever was 4468 for Twilight:  Eclipse. and until now, the widest non-sequel was the first Madagascar with 4131. 
All of this, of course, is counting the number of multiplexes on the head of a pin:  no one will notice a difference of under 10% in a theatre count that mammoth.  With all those screens, a spot-check of the Thursday midnight-ish shows for the ArcLight chain in LA shows that at its 4 theatres (Hunger Games will be playing on at least 12 screens in each for the evening) there are still a fair number of seats available for audiences willing to cool their heels till around 12:30AM or so.  Of course, that’s with about 32 hours of pre-opening hysteria still to come, so waiting for the last minute to buy may still be unwise.  It would, after all, be awful to see dawn arrive on Friday morning and have to confess you still hadn’t seen the movie…

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."