The Hunger Games scores third-highest US opening weekend


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The Independent Culture

The Hunger Games, the dystopian action film tipped to become a teen franchise on a par with the Twilight series, has enjoyed the third-highest-grossing opening weekend in US history.

The film, adapted from the bestselling novel by Suzanne Collins, took in $155m (£97m) as fans camped out for screenings that started at midnight on Friday. The performance was only bettered by the $158.4m taken by the Batman film The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which took $169.2m on its opening weekend last year.

The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence, left, as 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who competes in a reality show fight to the death against other teenagers. It is the highest-ever US opening for a film not part of an existing franchise, comfortably beating the first Twilight movie, which took $69.6m in its first weekend.

But the performance outside its home market was not so stellar. Despite topping the charts in many countries, it brought in just $59.3m in 67 markets including the UK, France and Germany.

The buzz around The Hunger Games has seen a rush of lucrative merchandise deals, including board games, posters, trading cards – and a new Barbie doll inspired by the film's heroine.