UPDATE: Final numbers showed The Hunger Games grossed $152.5 million, still the most for a nonsequel, nonsummer movie.
To say The Hunger Games has caught fire is understatement: The film will gross a historic $155 million in its opening-weekend box-office debut, its studio estimated this morning.
The Friday-Sunday take is the third-biggest in Hollywood history, blowing past the blockbuster hauls of the Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean and Twilight movies, among others.
And the records keep coming for Katniss Everdeen and company…
The Hunger Games is now the biggest nonsequel opener, and the biggest nonsummer opener.
Its haul was on the very upper end of outsized projections, projections that had been fueled by monster advance-ticket sales.
The film opened at midnight Friday, taking in nearly $20 million from those screenings alone. By the end of its first day, it had collected $68 million, the fifth-biggest single and opening-day grosses ever. On Saturday, it collected another $51 million. Lionsgate was calling for a $36 million Sunday.
Internationally, the film was just as strong, opening No. 1 in nearly every market it played, the studio said, and grossing a combined $59.3 million.
The final tally on The Hunger Games' three-day, worldwide haul: $214.3 million.
"To launch this franchise in the way we did is mind-blowing," studio exec David Spitz said.
The Hunger Games did it all without 3-D, but with some help from IMAX, where it showed on 268 screens domestically (out of 4,137 total), and came away with $10.6 million, the most ever in the format for a 2-D nonsequel.
The Jennifer Lawrence-led movie was driven to its great heights largely by women, with females comprising 61 percent of its weekend audience, per polling data.
Proving its reach beyond the young-adult market that was targeted by the Suzanne Collins books, more than half of Hunger Games moviegoers, 56 percent, were aged 25 and older.
Another good sign for the franchise-to-be: Audiences who saw the movie liked it—a lot, grading it an A.
The first sequel, Catching Fire, is already in the works, and set for a November 2013 release.
Elsewhere, there wasn't much elsewhere as The Hunger Games accounted for about 75 percent of all business generated by the weekend's top movies, per Exhibitor Relations.
The debuting October Baby, an anti-abortion drama that mobilized church groups, cracked the Top 10 (seventh place, $1.7 million) on the strength of fewer than 400 theaters.
Among the holdovers, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's 21 Jump Street (second place, $21.3 million) and Dr. Suess' The Lorax (third place, $13.1 million) held up well, all things considered, and pushed their domestic totals to $71.1 million and $177.3 million, respectively.
The much-maligned John Carter (fourth place, $5 million) averaged only $1,561 at each of its 3,212 screens (compared to The Hunger Games' $37,467), but got closer to earning back its $250 million budget. The film's worldwide now stands at $234.4 million.
Or, yes, about as much The Hunger Games is expected to have grossed in its first 72 hours.
Here's a complete rundown of the top 10 all-time opening weekends, as compiled per BoxOfficeMojo.com stats:
(Originally published at 8:17 a.m. PT on March 25, 2012.)