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'Hunger Games': birth of a franchise

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Murray Close/HONS/Lionsgate/AP

(Read caption) 'The Hunger Games' received mainly positive reviews from critics as well as setting box office records.

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Movie of the moment “The Hunger Games” raked in a massive opening weekend gross of $155 million, making its opening weekend the third best ever and winning the title of best opening of all time for a non-sequel movie.

The only two movies to have had better opening weekends are the 2011 movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” which grossed $169.2 million, and the 2008 Batman film “The Dark Knight,” which earned $158.4 million. But because “Harry” and “Knight” are both sequels, “Hunger Games” now holds the record for best opening weekend for any film that is not a sequel. 

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The movie also earned $68 million on its opening day, which gives it the fifth-best opening day ever for a movie. The movie was also well-received by critics.

“This is the birth of a franchise,” Lionsgate head of distribution David Spitz told the Seattle Times. “To launch in this fashion is mindboggling.”

“Catching Fire,” the next installment in the planned movie quartet, is due in 2013.

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.