It’s finally time to breathe a sigh of relief. Not only did the film adaptation of The Hunger Games do Suzanne Collins’ book justice, but it also made an absolute killing at the box office, ensuring there’s more to come.
Weekend estimates had The Hunger Games sitting pretty with a $155 million opening domestic total, but the actuals have it just under that at $152,535,747 million, which is still enough to secure the third position on the biggest opening weekend of all time chart. Hunger Games just edges out Spider-Man 3 and its $151,116,516 start, making the only two films to outearn it opening weekend The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Now the big question is: How long can The Hunger Games hold on? While it’s nice to kick things off with such a monumental start, it also leaves a lot more room to fall, something the Twilight movies are very familiar with. While Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and New Moon had massive openings, those opening numbers make up a whopping 49.1% and 48.2% of their total gross, respectively. You know what that means? They experienced some pretty fast declines. Even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 took a tough weekend one to two tumble, losing 72% of its $169.2 million start.
A rather large percent change is inevitable, but considering The Hunger Games held so strong throughout the weekend, only dropping 25% from Friday to Saturday, it’s got a pretty good shot at posting numbers more along the lines of The Dark Knight, which only saw 52.5% of its starting profits disappear. Then again, The Hunger Games did take a far tougher hit on Monday, losing 69% of its Sunday total for $10 million whereas The Dark Knight only lost 43.8% and took $24.5 million. However, the fact that The Dark Knight arrived mid-summer most certainly contributed to that, so there's still a solid chance The Hunger Games could maintain that 52.5% loss for $72 million its second weekend out.
What we’ve got to hope for now is that The Hunger Games has some strong legs. It’s tough to think a movie with such an incredible opening wouldn’t make its way into the list of top grossing movies of all time, but when you compare Breaking Dawn’s $138.1 million start to its $281.3 million finish, it’s clear that that can happen and, should that be the case, some might label Hunger Games as just another front-loaded fan-obsessive property.
But, in the meantime, why not relish in The Hunger Games’ accomplishments? Here’s a list of impressive feats the film has achieved so far …
Opening Weekend: #3
Opening Weekend – March: #1
Saturday Day Gross: #2
Opening Day: #5
Opening Day for a Non-Sequel: #1
Midnight Gross: #7
Might Gross for a Non-Sequel: #1
Fastest to $100 Million: #2
Fastest to $150 Million: #3
Theater Averages (All Time): #2
All statistics via Box Office Mojo.
The Fandom Unites
Between my standard review on Shockya.com and my fan review right here on The Hunger Games Countdown, you’re well aware of how I feel about the film, but now it’s time to hear from the fandom. These writers have been dedicated Hunger Games fans far before all this hype began. Since we started our collaboration at the establishment of this Countdown, I’ve watched their sites grow from smaller hubs of discussion and passion to incredibly professional news resources with expansive outreaches. After all this time and work, did the feature film live up to their expectations? Let’s find out …
Melanie of HungerGamesMovie.org
My first reaction was pure joy in seeing how closely the movie represented the book with spectacular acting and writing. However, the quick, jumpy movements of the camera throughout was hard to handle at times. For the most part, I didn’t notice the jerky camera shooting, except during the action scenes. Thus, I found it difficult to figure out who was who during the Cato/Katniss/Peeta hand-to-hand combat on the Cornucopia. I feel this was done so we wouldn’t see the preferred weapon so clearly enter a child tribute. Perhaps this was a way to keep the movie PG-13, but halfway through the film, I found myself scouring my purse for my headache medication. That being said, I am still extremely happy with the film overall. The script, the acting, and the effects accomplished the task in bringing my favourite book to life.
Lee of The Hob
Finally a movie that lives up to the crazy amount of hype; The Hunger Games does not disappoint! One aspect in particular that I enjoyed was the look of the film; it's quite visually striking. The Capitol is colorful, the arena verdant and lethal. Gary Ross gives us a wide pallet of color and images. Cinematically, he delivers an almost monochrome vision of the very depressed sections of District 12. It is quite startling when Katniss and Peeta move from the District to the Capitol train. Everything is bright and reflective, and you feel the tone shift just as Katniss and Peeta do.
Crystal of Mockingjay.net & FictionalFood.net
I was too embarrassed to admit my conflicting feelings when I first saw the movie at the Nokia Theater on the 12th, but now that I’ve seen The Hunger Games three times, I don’t feel as bad about saying that my first viewing was a disappointment. I tried going into the movie without an extensive list of expectations, but it was so hard not to. I mean, we’d all been micro analyzing everything on a weekly basis on Hunger Games Fireside Chat, fawning over every little photo, watching the trailer in slow motion - it was bound to happen. My second viewing was extremely different. With all my expectations out of the way, the pace didn’t feel as rushed and I enjoyed the movie so much more. If anyone feels like I did the first time around, I urge you to go again and see if you end up feeling the same way. (Read more of Crystal’s thoughts on the necessity of a second viewing here.)
Savanna of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
When it comes to book-to-movie adaptations, I have to admit that I'm usually one of those obnoxious "checklist fans." I watch the movie and get distracted by everything that was left out or changed or added during the transition from page to screen. Because 9 times out of 10, the film suffers as a result. The fact that the scenes in the Hunger Games movie that don't exist in the book are some of my absolute favorites is, I think, a testament to just how fantastic an adaptation this is. All the new material is, in my opinion, just brilliant: the Gamemaker control room, Haymitch schmoozing to gain sponsors, the conversations in Snow's rose garden, Cato’s final “speech,” Seneca and the berries at the end, etc. Rather than chip away at the integrity of the book, these moments only enrich this series that we all already love so much.
Sara of The Hunger Games Examiner
There were plenty of moments in The Hunger Games that were unique to the movie, simply because the book's first person POV limits what action the reader gets to see. Not so in the movie version, and one of the most brilliantly added scenes comes towards the end of the film. SPOILER ALERT - it's the last time we see Seneca Crane, when he's lead to an empty room, locked inside, and finds himself facing a bowl of the same berries Katniss and Peeta threatened to commit suicide with. The scene is so poignant and impactful in such a beautifully simple way. This is the scene that left me with the most chills, and in reality, made me the most excited for Catching Fire.
Tanvi of The Hunger Games Network
There's just so much to gush about with The Hunger Games, but personally, I loved the focus on the supporting cast. Not just people like Gale or Rue but the ones we only hear of here and there in the books. Seneca Crane is my new favorite character from the series. Like I previously said in this Countdown, his addition was a great one as it displays the politics in Panem so well. The Gamemakers' control room scenes were really interesting to watch. Caesar Flickerman, too, was delightful. His character was expanded upon so well. And of course, Cato's final speech. I've seen the movie about thrice now and it made me cry each time. It was a tragically beautiful sequence. The first moments at the Cornucopia were absolutely thrilling, and sick to watch and though the violence was cut short, I can live with that. I really appreciate Lionsgate's decision of sticking to the core issues of The Hunger Games and not turning it into a totally downplayed movie.
Kait of Victor’s Village
Details can make or break a film, but the costume and set design teams on The Hunger Games did not disappoint! Every bit of The Capitol was bathed in eye-popping color and exciting styles, making the background a character in itself, while everything remained justifiably simple in the districts. Hats off to Elizabeth Banks, who endured the worst of the costume tour de force. From the Training Center to the extravagant train, everything just felt right.
Arianna of Down With The Capitol
Although The Hunger Games is primarily about Katniss and the games, there is also that aspect of romance in the movie. It’s the little details that bring out the true romance such as Peeta rubbing Katniss’ forehead so gingerly in the cave, Katniss freaking out and grabbing Peeta in a tight embrace when she thought she had lost him to Nightlock, or even the moment when Peeta gently tugged on Katniss’ braid towards the end of the movie. Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence’s chemistry shines through in The Hunger Games.
Natalie of Crushable
Kudos to Gary Ross and co. for envisioning the Capitol and filling in the gaps while the Games go on! Seneca Crane overseeing the room with the digital Arena, Haymitch negotiating with sponsors, it all gave us a nuanced look at the politics of this odd sport/entertainment hybrid. I mostly trusted the producers to give us the Arena as we had envisioned in the books, and except for a few missteps, they did. I still think there could have been more violence while staying within a PG-13 rating, and the significance of the mutations was lost. Additionally, I didn't like Seneca Crane's ending with the berries; I felt it was too neat and cheapened their presence in the Arena scenes prior.
The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 604 days until the release of Catching Fire.