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March 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Hunger Games earned $68.3 million on Friday, Lionsgate said Saturday. The figure topped the loftiest expectations. Daily Variety said that it is now on track to earn more than $140 million for the weekend.
(Earlier) Lions Gate Entertainment investors, who have seen their shares in the studio soar in recent weeks on expectations that The Hunger Games will become one of the biggest hits of the year and launch a lucrative franchise were apparently unwilling to wait for the weekend box office figures to confirm those predictions. Many of them on Thursday decided to cash out, sending shares in the “minimajor” down 7.2 percent to $14.55. (They closed virtually flat on Friday at $14.53.) At least one analyst noted that with the stock nearly doubling over the past few months, the current price reflects full value. Meanwhile, speculation continued over how much the movie will earn this weekend, with some predictions running as high as $140 million. Advertising Age, however, in an article by Seraj Bharwani, chief analytics officer of Visible Measures, figured that it would take in around half that amount — $70-80 million — based on the number of people who have viewed the online trailer of the movie. Daily Variety reported early today that the film earned about $25 million during midnight previews. That would rank it in fifth place for midnight screenings behind the final Harry Potter movie and the three Twilight movies. However, the studio said later that the figure was actually quite lower, $19.735 million, putting it at No. 7 on the midnight chart. Nevertheless, noted veteran box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, that would represent the “highest non-sequel midnight [opening] of all time.”