"The Hunger Games" scores big with midnight debut

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) in THE HUNGER GAMES. Photo credit: Murray Close

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) in "The Hunger Games."
Lionsgate/Murray Close
(CBS News) Early estimate suggest that moviegoers' appetite for "The Hunger Games" is very strong.

"The Hunger Games" officially hit the big screen with a midnight screening on Friday, and insiders are predicting big things for movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling novel.

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According to the Associated Press, "The Hunger Games" raked in $19.7 million domestically from overnight shows, the seventh-best midnight total ever.

Overseas figures are also reportedly high, according Deadline.com. The site's founder, journalist Nikki Finke, says international numbers are "gigantic." Although numbers haven't been confirmed, sources tell Finke "The Hunger Games" had a $1.8 million opening night in Australia, surpassing the Aussie debuts of "Iron Man" and "Quantum of Solace."

Earlier this week, John Fithian, president of The National Association of Theater Owners, predicted the film would open between $115 million and $120 million. That means "The Hunger Games" would beat the previous record for March, topping "Alice in Wonderland," which opened to more than $116 million in 2010. Other insiders say "The Hunger Games" could have a whopping $130 million-to-$140 million opening weekend.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" holds the record for the biggest opening ever with $169.2 million.

With all of the hype, buzz and marketing surrounding the "The Hunger Games," it won't come as a surprise if it breaks box office records.

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