“The Hunger Games” breaks box office record with $19.7 million at midnight, increasing to $155 million over weekend

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When “The Hunger Games” made its official release on midnight, the box office results show that the games have officially begun. With its monstrous $19.7 million tally at the box office, “The Hunger Games” has already broken the record for the biggest non-sequel midnight opening, and is the seventh biggest opening of all time, trailing only behind movies from the Harry Potter and Twilight series, all of which were riding on the strength of an already successful film franchise. The film went on to gross $155 Million over the weekend.

To put the midnight figure into perspective, the midnight debut for the first “Twilight” installment made $7 million at the box office, less than half of the big draw from “The Hunger Games” franchise-starter, but the “Twilight” film franchise as a whole went on to gross $2 billion worldwide.

This is the first film installment of a trilogy based on the best-selling “Hunger Games” series, written by Suzanne Collins. The novel takes place in the post apocalyptic, dystopian society of Panem, and revolves around the trials and tribulations of Katniss Everdeen, who offers herself up for a brutal duel to the death to spare the life of her younger sister. Dark themes of violence, poverty, and the effects of war are prevalent in the novel, and are what made the series so appealing to both the adult and young adult audience.

With her experience writing for television, including popular Nickelodeon shows “Clarissa Explains it All” and “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo,” Suzanne Collins was able to pen the screen adaptation with the help of screenwriter Billy Ray, so any qualms readers may have with the film version have to take it up withthe author herself.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows — Part 2,” the final film installment to the beloved J.K. Rowling series, opened with a whopping $43.5 million midnight opening, and went on to take the throne as the biggest opening of all time, ending up with a weekend gross of $169.3 million.

Although the figure seems out of reach, Katniss definitely has the likes of Batman and Johnny Depp in her crosshairs. “The Dark Knight” opened with $18.5 million at midnight and went on to earn $158 million at the box office, making it the second biggest debut of all time. Meanwhile, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” which starred Johnny Depp, currently holds the title for the biggest March opening of all time, ending its debut weekend with $116.1 million.

Katniss may or may not take down the bat and the Mad Hatter, but the odds are EVER in her favor.

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