EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that The Hunger Games will receive the largest release in the history of Lionsgate with an opening weekend North American count of 4,137 locations. The studio will have just under 10,000 prints playing throughout the U.S. and Canada starting Friday, and that number keeps going up daily. Right now, that only puts The Hunger Games at #12 on the all-time list of widest openings at the box office. No. 1 is June 2010’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse which released into 4,468 theaters. More than 75% of the prints are in digital, with 268 IMAX theatres across North America playing the hotly anticipated pic. Online pre-sales of tickets continue to amaze, and business for Friday 12:01 AM midnight shows is expected to be phenomenal. Exactly how much the studio can gross for the first weekend depends on how many screenings each theater can pack into 72 hours by finding enough staff willing to work the extra hours and keep the pic running continuously. The pic also opens worldwide day-and-date except for a handful of markets (which include Spain, Italy, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Venezuela) on an estimated 7,700 prints.
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