Friday, March 23, 2012

Midnight Box Office (03/23/12): Hunger Games scores $19.75m at 12:01am.

First and foremost, The Hunger Games earned a robust $19.75 million at midnight screenings alone, besting a record for a non-sequel and the seventh-biggest midnight haul of all-time.  It earned more than the $18 million midnight gross of The Dark Knight back in 2008 and the $17 million midnight haul of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith back in 2005. It is the biggest midnight gross for any movie not called Harry Potter or Twilight (Harry Potter 6: $22m, Harry Potter 7.1: $24m, Twilight: New Moon: $26m, Twilight: Eclipse and Breaking Dawn I: $30m, Harry Potter 7.2: $43m).  If this film were like any normal picture (between 4.5% and 6.5% of its weekend at midnight), we'd be looking at a $300-$400million+ opening weekend.  So let's presume that it's a bit front-loaded, but the question is how much so?  The last two Paranormal Activity films earned about 15% of their respective opening weekends at midnight ($6.3m and $8m respectively), while The Dark Knight earned just 11% of its then-record $158 million opening at 12:01am.  The difference between those two figures is the difference between a massive $132 million debut and a record $179 million opening weekend.  On the other hand, if the film really does play like a Harry Potter or Twilight sequel (which would seem to be the likely case), then we should compare it to those openings.

It's unfair to compare the first Hunger Games to the last Harry Potter film (25% at midnight, which would give The Hunger Games just $79 million for the weekend), so throw that one out.  Let's instead use the three-day debuts of the second and fourth Twilight films (18% and 21% respectively, part III opened on a Wednesday) and the Fri-Sun debut of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I (19%), which was the first Fri debut for a Potter film in five years.  Such comparisons would give The Hunger Games an opening weekend of $109 million, $103 million, or $94 million.  Obviously this is all pure speculation, but I like doing the match for this stuff.  My 'gut' tells me that the 15% figure is the way to go, paving the way for a massive debut of $130 million, a record for a non-sequel.  But if the film truly is the 'next Twilight/Harry Potter' and plays like a quasi-sequel to those franchises, there remains a likely possibility that the film will in fact debut under $100 million.  Again, if that does occur, the first professional pundit to scream 'FLOP!' should get fired on the spot and probably sued by Lionsgate for libel to boot.  We'll know more in about 12 hours.  I'll actually be seeing the film in about ten hours in glorious IMAX 2D.

Scott Mendelson  


corysims said...

Scott, I'm going to guess that it beats Alice in Wonderland's March weekend. Put me down for 124 million dollar weekend. Seeing it in 7 hours.

Heather said...

I'm guessing around $130 million. I'm thinking it's impossible for it to be under $100 million with the reports of sold out and added shows.


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