'Hunger Games' gorges on $214 million global debut

Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:37am EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Post-apocalyptic action movie "The Hunger Games" opened with a staggering $155 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices, beating Hollywood's lofty expectations and making history as the third-highest domestic film opening.

Internationally, the Lions Gate Entertainment drama about an oppressive society's teen death match added $59.3 million from 67 markets for a global haul of $214.3 million.

The massive U.S. and Canadian debut for the film ranked behind only last summer's "Harry Potter" finale and 2008 Batman movie "The Dark Knight," Lions Gate said.

The movie's success brings the first blockbuster franchise to Lions Gate, a smaller Hollywood studio best known previously for the "Saw" horror series and comedian Tyler Perry's films.

"Hunger Games" set records for highest opening of a non-sequel film and biggest debut outside the summer blockbuster season.

"The first movie in a franchise, to post a number like this, is really insane. There is no other word for it," said Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com.

"'Harry Potter' had seven movies before it got to that point, and 'Dark Knight' had years and years of building the Batman brand. This movie comes and hangs with them in the same league," Contrino said.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" opened with $169.2 million domestically over its opening weekend, while "Dark Knight" took in $158.4 million, according to Hollywood.com.   Continued...

A marquee advertising "The Hunger Games" is seen at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square Theatre in New York March 22, 2012. The film is based on the popular young adult book series by Suzanne Collins. REUTERS/Allison Joyce