Lions Gate roars with "Hunger Games" $155 mln opening weekend
Lion Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) stock rose in premarket trading Monday in the wake of a record $155 million opening weekend for its post-apocalyptic teen movie "The Hunger Games".
Shares in the movie company were up 9 percent in premarket trading to $14.53.
Positive anticipation for the film, along with the January acquisition of Summit Entertainment, has lifted Lions Gate shares by 75 percent this year. Lions Gate, is based in Vancouver but and run from Santa Monica, California.
The move, which cost $80 million to make, concerns teenagers battling to the death on live television, is based on a series of
young adult novels written by Suzanne Collins and published by Scholastic Corp. (NASDAQ:SCHL).
It opened in 4,137 theaters. The sales total marked the third-largest weekend ever, behind 2011’s "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and 2008’s "The Dark Knight".
Box office analysts estimated "The Hunger Games" would earn $125 million to $135 million, having raised earlier forecasts as it gained buzz.
Prior to the weekend opening, Lions Gate's top-performing domestic release was Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11", which collected $119.1 million in the US and Canada during its entire run in theaters.
A marketing campaign associated with the movie included a special edition of People magazine, an eight-city mall tour by the
movie's stars, and ticket giveaways on websites.
At least 6,000 US weekend shows sold out in advance and more than 450 showings of "Hunger Games" are already sold out for this week, according to box office sites.
The movie's success is in stark contrast to Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) big-budget sci-fi adventure "John Carter", which collected $5 million in its third weekend. Disney announced last week that the film would lose an estimated $200 million and lead to a second-quarter operating loss of as much as $120 million at the company’s film unit.