1:31 pm EDT, March 25, 2012

‘The Hunger Games’ catches fire at box office with $155 million domestically, $214 million worldwide

It’s safe to say the phenomenon that is The Hunger Games has translated from page to screen. Weekend box office totals are starting to come in with the film raking in $155 million domestically, this makes The Hunger Games the third-best opening ever and best opening for a non-sequel. Internationally, the film garnered an astonishing $214 million, making for a spectacular debut!

Reports Variety:

“We’re now No. 3 among the top domestic openings — the first being Warner Bros. and the third, Lionsgate. That’s just mind-blowing,” enthused Lionsgate marketing topper Tim Palen. “The fact that we didn’t test the film or the trailer is a testament to Jon Feltheimer — he has the best gut in the business.”

Lionsgate distribution head David Spitz pointed to the film’s miniscule 25% Friday-to-Saturday drop as a relatively unheard of achievement, especially given the film’s record-setting $19.7 million midnight take lumped into Friday’s gross. Typically, films with massive pre-release buzz that lead to hefty Thursday midnights, like the “Twilight” franchise, drop between 45% and 50% from Friday to Saturday.

“That positions us to be in the marketplace for a long time,” Spitz said.

“Hunger Games,” which received an A CinemaScore rating, drew a surprisingly robust male contingency, at 40%. That was likely boosted by a $10.6 million Imax share, since the mega-screen exhib caters mostly to male auds. Over-25 auds contributed 56% of the film’s opening, while 44% came from moviegoers under 25.

With this outstanding tally, The Hunger Games has outperformed even the highest box office predictions, as the film crushed the previous highest spring opening Alice in Wonderland, which drew in $116 million during its March weekend. If typical box office trends are of any indication, expect Catching Fire to give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 a run for its money atop the all-time box office list at $169 million.

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