"Hunger Games" box-office records shot past many expectations, shattering various records with a $155 million opening in U.S. and Canada theaters after its first weekend.
"The Hunger Games" box-office record is the highest domestic opening for any movie that wasn't a sequel or established franchise, Lions Gate films reported on Sunday. It was bested only by "Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part II" and "The Dark Knight"- two films with years of books, movies, and multimedia behind their brands.
Worldwide, "The Hunger Games" raked in an impressive $214.3 million in total, although it's revenue outside North America was only a disappointing $59.3 million. In comparison, the "Harry Potter" finale took in $314 million overseas.
Still, the movie's huge opening is fantastic for Lions Gate, a smaller studio which- before the major box-office hit- had only the "Saw" franchise and Tyler Perry movies to its name. Now, though, they have a major winner in "The Hunger Games," which ousted "Twilight" as the new popular franchise.
"To launch a franchise like this is incredible," David Spitz, executive vice president of domestic distribution for Lions Gate, told Reuters. "It's above and beyond our expectations. We're just going to enjoy the ride."
That ride may last longer than projections once said. Originally, Lions Gate expected around a $140 million opening- still a huge success by any means. However, sales after Friday night only fell 25 percent instead of the usual 40 percent, as many camped out to see the movie dressed in "Hunger Games" outfits.
"That type of behavior puts it on the level of 'Star Treks' and 'Star Wars,'" said Spitz. "I was so excited to see how everyone was responding to the material and how ecstatic they were to be a part of it."
Unlike "Twilight," which made most of its money targeting teenage girls, "The Hunger Games" appealed to both older and younger viewers, and marketed to them via Facebook, YouTube, and various other social media.
Lions Gate is looking to capitalize on their momentum. The next installment of the series based on the books by Suzanne Collins, "Catching Fire," is due in November 2013, and the finale, "Mockingjay," will be separated into a two-part film.