The Hunger Games made a killing at the box office this weekend, raking in $155 million domestically — far more than the $140 million the most optimistic forecasters had projected. Indeed, it was an opening weekend for the record books: The mammoth haul marks the third-best debut ever, the biggest ever for a film that isn't a sequel, and the biggest ever for a film that opened outside the lucrative summer window. "This is the birth of a franchise," says David Spitz, head of Lionsgate distribution. "To launch in this fashion is mind-boggling." Here, a look at how the success breaks down:
The Hunger Games' opening weekend gross, including midnight screenings on Thursday night
Opening weekend gross for 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which had the best debut ever
Opening weekend gross for 2008's The Dark Knight, the second highest ever
Opening weekend gross for Alice in Wonderland, which had held the record for biggest March opening until The Hunger Games bested the 2010 film by roughly $40 million
Opening weekend gross for 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first film in the boy wizard franchise
The first Twilight film's opening weekend gross, less than half of what The Hunger Games pulled in
Percent of The Hunger Games audience that was female
Percent of Twilight's audience that was female, suggesting that The Hunger Games has a broader appeal
Percent of The Hunger Games audience over age 25, "proving its reach beyond the young-adult market," says Joal Ryan at E! Online
Percent of America's total weekend box-office gross fueled by The Hunger Games
Gross from The Hunger Games' first midnight screenings, the biggest ever for a non-sequel, and the seventh highest of all time
Total worldwide gross for The Hunger Games. In addition to the $155 million the film took in domestically, it earned $59.3 million in international markets.
John Carter's opening weekend gross in international markets. Though the sci-fi epic has flopped dramatically stateside, it managed to beat The Hunger Games overseas.
The Hunger Games' production budget. The film has already grossed over twice that worldwide.
Total domestic gross projected for The Hunger Games by industry analyst Doug Cruetz. The film received a rare "A" CinemaScore from audiences, indicating that positive word of mouth will contribute to continued strong business for the film.
Sources: AP, Box Office Mojo, E! Online (2), Hollywood Reporter (2), MTV