'Hunger Games' collects nearly $20 million from late-night shows
Lionsgate's hotly anticipated adaptation of the bestselling book by Suzanne Collins ranks as the seventh highest ever total gross from "midnight screenings" (Hollywood's term for shows that start anytime from 12 a.m. on a film's opening day until the sun rises).
The six films ranked higher were the three most recent installments in the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" series.
Big turnouts for late-night shows are an indication of intense excitement among fans, who would rather stay up until dawn than wait a minute longer than necessary to see a film. And while they don't guarantee that a movie will ultimately prove popular among broad audiences, a big midnight debut is an indicator that a picture will have a huge opening weekend.
Every other film that has posted more than $16.6 million in midnight shows on a Friday (the cut-off point for the top 10) has gone to take in well over $100 million on its opening weekend. "The Hunger Games" appears poised to do the same, with a debut as high as $150 million still possible.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Two fans at the opening night of "The Hunger Games" at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Valerie Macon / Getty Images.