It's certainly been a long wait for The Hunger Games, but the film is finally going to hit theaters this Friday, March 23.
There's already been reports of fans lining up two weeks in advance, with Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss Everdeen, coming by to meet people and sign autographs, and there's also been reports of the early ticket sales being off the charts.
Advance tickets went on sale a month in advance (and by the way, The Dark Knight Rises tickets are also on sale), and now the news hits Deadline that as of Monday, March 19, The Hunger Games has already racked up a million dollars in advance ticket sales.
As Deadline head honcho Nikki Finke writes, "Crazy speculation that Lionsgate's The Hunger Games could gross $125 million its opening 3-day weekend is more and more looking like a reality."
Finke continues that Lionsgate's own estimates were a $75 million opening weekend, but now they're up to $95 million or more. There's also been speculation elsewhere a $100 million weekend could be very well within reach. On Sunday, March 18, Games sold 83,000 tickets on Fandango alone. And, as we've reported on TG, there are a number of late screenings being added, and this may be a situation where the film could end up playing twenty-four hours to meet demand.
The first reviews for Hunger Games finally came in late last week via Variety and Hollywood Reporter, and they read similar to Harry Potter in that Games is supposedly very close to the book, perhaps too close in that it didn't take any artistic chances, but like Harry Potter, more cinematic risks could kick in down the road.
In the Reporter, veteran movie critic Todd McCarthy wrote the first Games entry is "good enough," and it seems doubtful the fans will be disappointed. And judging by the box office tracking, it's also very doubtful the executives at Lionsgate will be disappointed at next Monday's box office receipts.