CATEGORIES Movie NewsNot that you're surprised, but the odds are definitely in favor of Lionsgate and the team behind "The Hunger Games." The $78 million-budget adaptation of Suzanne Collins's best-selling YA novel earned at least $25 million from its midnight screenings on early Friday morning, and that number could hit $30 million by the time receipts are counted later today.
UPDATE: According to Lionsgate, "The Hunger Games" earned $19.7 million from its midnight screenings, the seventh biggest debut in reported box-office history. In addition to that, "The Hunger Games" becomes the highest grossing non-sequel to ever premiere at midnight, and -- wait for it -- "the highest IMAX non-summer, non-holiday, 2D opening of all time."
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That would put "Hunger Games" in the same economic bracket "Breaking Dawn Part 1" occupied last November; the first installment of the "Twilight" finale grossed $30.25 from its midnight screenings, a franchise record. ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" owns the overall midnight screening record, with $43.5 million in night-owl ticket sales.)
Whether "The Hunger Games" can reach the $138.1 million opening weekend that "Breaking Dawn Part 1" did remains to be seen, though it does have much better reviews than any "Twilight" installment. ("The Hunger Games" currently holds an 87 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) According to Variety, the film is expected to earn somewhere between $120-125 million.
PHOTOS: "Hunger Games" Reviews