Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence

Murray Close/Lionsgate

Update: And now we're up to about 4,300 sold-out screenings, per the latest Fandango and stats.  


Closing in on its Friday-midnight release, box-office expectations for The Hunger Games continue to rise almost as much as screenings keep selling out. 

Is it time to take a deep breath, step back and just let the little ol' movie do its thing?  

No, it's time to take a deep breath, step back—and look up in awe.

The last word from the two leading advance ticketers, Fandango and, is that some 3,500 Hunger Games showings are sold out. That's double the number reported a week ago. Fandango says Hunger Games has already sold more tickets via its service than Twilight did during its entire run, and will end up among its top-five all-time sellers.

Some of the top theater chains, meanwhile, are reporting advance sales to the tune of $15 million, the Hollywood Reporter reported.

Elsewhere, the magic number for The Hunger Games' opening weekend has crept up, from early guestimates of $100 million to a big, fat $140 million, or even $150 million.

"I'm feeling a groundswell here," box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said Wednesday, adding he wouldn't be shocked by a $130 million-to-$140 million Friday-Sunday debut.

But Dergarabedian also offered a warning: "You need to be careful…We have no track record for the franchise. It could come in higher, it could come in lower."

Even something as "low" as $100 million would be a near-unprecedented success. Only two non-sequels have ever hit the nine-figure mark in their first three days in release: the 2002 Spider-Man and Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland

And, yes, the high eight digits would be a win, too. (No John Carter, The Hunger Games reportedly cost its studio less than $100 million to produce.)

But back to hysteria: Have you seen Rotten Tomatoes lately? Ninety percent Tomatometer reading!

Here's a rundown of the Top 10 biggest opening weekends in Hollywood history, per domestic stats:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, $169.2 million
  2. The Dark Knight, $158.4 million
  3. Spider-Man 3, $151.1 million
  4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $142.8 million
  5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1, $138.1 million
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, $135.6 million
  7. Iron Man 2, $128.1 million
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, $125 million
  9. Shrek the Third, $121.6 million
  10. Alice in Wonderland (2010), $116.1 million
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