Hotly anticipated blockbuster The Hunger Games topped the box office in its opening weekend, grossing $9,051,868 across 471 screens.
The film, which is based on the first installment of a successful trilogy by Suzanne Collins and distributed by Roadshow, had a screen average of $19,218. On its opening day last Thursday, the film took $1.75 million – the biggest opening day of 2012 so far.
The Hunger Games tells the story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence), a poverty stricken girl in a post-apocalyptic version of America, who volunteers to take the place of her sister in a Government-sanctioned televised fight-to-the-death against 23 other teens known as 'tributes.'
In the US, The Hunger Games had the third highest opening weekend of all time behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Dark Knight. Estimates from studio insiders predicted that the film had the potential to earn up to $130 million in its first weekend in the US, but the movie surpassed this – going on to post $155 million at the North American box office.
Second at the local box office was British pensioner comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The Fox-distributed film, which features an all-star cast including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, earned $3,404,936 across 258 screens, giving it a screen average of $13,197.
Sony Pictues comedy 21 Jump Street came in third, dropping 36 per cent from its successful opening weekend. The Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum buddy comedy took $2,622,044 on 300 screens.
Disney sci-fi film John Carter and Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance rounded out the top fve, grossing $633,006 (a 60 per cent drop from last week) and $339,472 respectively.
Australian films at the box office 2012