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Weekend Box-Office: March 23-25, 2012

03.25.2012

The Hunger Games has a feast!

And the winner of the games and current box office champ -- from District 12, the Girl on Fire, Katniss Everdeen!

There was certainly an expectation that THE HUNGER GAMES could be the next TWILIGHT-sized franchise... and any doubts were completely slaughtered this weekend as the movie opened to a gluttonous $155 million!

That three-day domestic take, which includes the record-setting midnight screenings, marks the biggest March opening ever (especially compared to this weekend last year when DIARY OF A WIMPY KID 2 topped the chart with just $21.5M), and puts THE HUNGER GAMES behind only HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Pt. 2 ($169M) and THE DARK KNIGHT ($158M) for all-time best opening weekend, just ahead of SPIDER-MAN 3 ($151M).

Aside from that voracious North American box office chowdown (which is effectively twice the production budget earned back in one weekend), Lionsgate's movie also opened in overseas markets to nearly $60M, making its three-day worldwide total $214M.

And although THE HUNGER GAMES actually has little in common with the oft-compared TWILIGHT series besides some teens and an ostensible love triangle, this first adaptation of Suzanne Collins' dystopian future young-adult novels got a stronger start than anything in the TWILIGHT franchise (NEW MOON opened highest to $142M), making for some jealous sparkly vampires.

All that attention on post-apocalyptic teenage carnage still wasn't too painful for 21 JUMP STREET, as Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum put up a decent fight for second place and $21.3M, a respectable 41% drop from its #1 opening thanks to some positive word-of-mouth. Dr. Seuss' tree-saver THE LORAX is also still in the top 3 after a month in release with another $13.1M and a $177.3M total.

Things get ugly after that, with JOHN CARTER displaying heroism on Mars but still desperately gasping for a breath on this planet. SAFE HOUSE and JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND are still in business after seven weeks on the chart, and the indie faith-based pro-life drama OCTOBER BABY took advantage of the low totals to slip onto the list at #8, with $1.7M on just 390 screens. Yep, John "Bo Duke/Pa Kent" Schneider has a movie in the Top 10. Outside the chart, Sony's limited release of the Indonesian action flick THE RAID: REDEMPTION cracked some heads at 14 locations for $221K and the highest per-screen average besides THE HUNGER GAMES.

Next week brings some new contenders with Tarsem Singh's candy-colored version of the Snow White fairy tale MIRROR MIRROR, while Sam Worthington returns to kick the asses of CG monsters in WRATH OF THE TITANS and the hockey comedy GOON hits faces in limited release. What did you think of THE HUNGER GAMES? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. The Hunger Games $155 M
NEW
2. 21 Jump Street $21.3 M $71 M
3. The Lorax $13.1 M $177.3 M
4. John Carter $5 M $62.3 M
5. Act of Valor $2 M $65.9 M
6. Project X $1.9 M $51.7 M
7. A Thousand Words $1.9 M $14.9 M
8. October Baby $1.7 M
NEW
9. Safe House $1.4 M $122.6 M
10. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island $1.3 M $97.1 M

ACCESS BOX-OFFICE ARCHIVES HERE

Source: Box Office Mojo

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