March 22, 2012

“The Hunger Games” – Key Boxoffice Targets (Pop Culture Apocalypose Minus 1)

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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In less than 24 hours, boxoffice figures for tonight’s midnight opening of THE HUNGER GAMES will start to arrive, and after that, the data, analysis and comparisons will be flooding in all weekend.  You can play along:  here’s a cheat sheet with some important numbers to keep in mind as the numbers roll in.
MIDNIGHT:  The record-holder for midnight boxoffice is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2), which grossed an unearthly $43.5M in the first few hours of its run (that was more than 11% of its total US gross).  Hunger Games won’t touch that–the only film this year with any chance to get there might be The Dark Knight Rises.  Second, third and fourth places are currently held by Twilight movies:  Breaking Dawn Part 1 with $30.3M, Eclipse with $30M and New Moon with $26.3M.  Harry Potter returns in 5th place for Deathly Hallows Part 1, with $24M.  If Hunger Games is going to do something historic this weekend, there is where it will have to begin.

OPENING DAY:  The record is Deathly Hallows Part 2 again, with $91.1M.  After that come New Moon ($72.7M), Breaking Dawn Part 1 ($71.6M) and Eclipse ($68.5M), followed by The Dark Knight with $67.2M.  The highest-ranking non-sequel is Alice In Wonderland (only #17 overall) with $40.8M, but Alice, as a family movie, didn’t have major Thursday midnight revenues–and could count on a Saturday increase.  Hunger Games will look to be somewhere in the neighborhood of those Twilight openings.
SATURDAY:   Because of their immense front-loading, and the fact that Thursday midnight has almost come to constitute an additional day, several of the highest-grossing weekends feature large Saturday drops, some as high as 40-50%.  The Saturday record-holder is Spider-Man 3 with $51.3M, and Deathly Hallows Part 2 is all the way in 9th place with $42.4M.  That’s also the area where the recent Twilights have found themselves.
OPENING WEEKEND:  Our Mitch Metcalf’s prediction is $124M, which would be the 9th highest of all time, within hailing distance of #8, Deathly Hallows Part 1 ($125M).  The record is held by Deathly Hallows Part 2 with $169.2M.  Hitting the estimate would also make Hunger Games the highest opening non-sequel ever, topping Alice In Wonderland‘s $116.1M. The 8 movies ahead of it would be the 2 Deathly Hallows, New Moon and Breaking Dawn Part 1, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Man’s Chest, and Iron Man 2.
There you have them:  the targets Katniss Everdeen (and her studio) will be aiming to hit.  And of course stay with SHOWBUZZDAILY all weekend long for the latest in boxoffice numbers and analysis.

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."