Let’s give this opening weekend for The Hunger Games some context. It made $155 Million, which is the highest opening for a non-sequel ever, it had the biggest day of a non-sequel ever, and is the third highest opening weekend of all time. It’s three million and change away from The Dark Knight, which was one of the most hyped openings ever. And it’s hard to say if the picture will stop at or around $400 Million. Also, October Baby opened, and did less than two million. Check out the numbers…

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 The Hunger Games
$155,000,000 $37,467 $155,000,000
2 21 Jump Street $21,300,000 (-41.3%) $6,825 $71,051,000
3  Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax $13,100,000 (-42.5%) $3,563 $177,300,000
4 John Carter $5,014,000 (-63.1%) $1,561 $62,347,000
5 Act of Valor $2,062,000 (-44.8%) $931 $65,942,000
6 Project X $1,950,000 (-51.8%) $944 $51,752,000
7  A Thousand Words $1,925,000 (-47.0%) $1,077 $14,926,000
8  October Baby $1,718,000 $4,405 $1,718,000
9 Safe House $1,400,000 (-48.5%) $1,053 $122,600,000
10 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island $1,373,000 (-42.5%) $1,025 $97,155,000

Often big movies create a vacuum, so it’s worth noting that 21 Jump Street held fairly well in this environment, as did The Lorax. John Carter, not so much, but it also lost a number of Imax screens to THG, so that was part of its problem.

Hunger Games is a huge phenomenon, so the question now is if it acts like a sequel and is incredibly front loaded. I’ve said that previously, but it’s true. We haven’t seen this before from a non-sequel. Audiences have responded positively to the film, and it was reviewed well, so it’s possible that it will keep playing strong. With these numbers it’s likely that the film will cross the $200 Million dollar mark by Wednesday or Thursday, and it should finish next weekend closer to $300 than not. This is bad news for next weekend’s pictures. At this point, the question is if it does over $400 or over $500 Million (or more). We may see the weekend number go up or down when actuals come in – perhaps it will be closer to The Dark Knight. The sequel is surely being prepped as we speak.

21 Jump Street looks like it can make it over $100 Million at this point, which is a big win for the R-rated picture. It will probably start losing momentum when American Reunion hits, but but that’s two weekends away. The Lorax is going to make over $200 Million, which is also a big win. John Carter probably won’t get to $90 or possibly even $80 Million domestic at this point. And though Disney was quick to trumpet their international numbers opening weekend, by labeling the film a turkey they may have cost themselves some gravy (to stay with the Thanksgiving metaphor).

October Baby is an independent release that is also a pro-life tract. If there were more films out it wouldn’t crack the top ten, so anyone who thinks it’s a big win or a shocking development is reacting to the wrong statistics. These sorts of religious movies have low overhead and light marketing, so it’s possible the film will turn a profit, but is no more surprising than any other of these releases and will do less than Fireproof or Courageous.

Reality Check: I predicted $145 Million for The Hunger Games, which makes me wrong, but I went higher than most so I’ll tag it as a win. Even though I did say that I thought the ceiling would be $150 Million. Everything else is close enough – went a little high on John Carter, but I didn’t expect the bottom to fall out on it so quickly.

What did you see this weekend?