How Lionsgate Ended Up With "The Hunger Games," Which Grossed $68.3M on Friday
It's not surprising that “The Hunger Games” open huge. What’s surprising is that it’s even bigger than the already lofty projections by box office analysts, who were predicting it do about $75M-$100M in the weeks leading up to its opening.
With $68.3M on opening day, a record for a non-sequel and fifth best of all time, it’s estimated to do $140-$160M at the end of the weekend. Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games” made in one day what took Summit’s “Twilight” the entire three day weekend to make.
It’s interesting that it’s these two smallish studios that ended up with the rights to these two young adult franchises. You’d think the bigger studios like Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, or Disney would do whatever it takes to convince Suzanne Collins to hand over the film rights to them after “Twilight” became one of the biggest franchises of all time.
Well, some of them did. Warner Brothers, Fox, and MGM were the three bigger studios who went after Collins; Disney and Universal didn’t.
Lionsgate eventually won because they promised Collins that they’ll stay true to her novel by letting her be part of the screenwriting team. What probably sealed the deal is that they gave her a piece of the film’s profits.
Because Lionsgate acquired Summit, they now own the top two young adult franchises.
One thing "The Hunger Games" have over the entire "Twilight" franchise is significantly better reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it scored 86% on the Tomatometer. Although most critics would have liked the film to get into the darker and more graphic material from the novel, they still thought it was a good and faithful adaptation.
By comparison, the Tomatometer for the "Twilight" films were in the twenties and forties.