1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate): $155 million in 4,137 theaters
Children killing children: Never before have three words sent such shivers of sheer ecstasy up the spines of Hollywood executives, as the big-screen adaptations of Suzanne Collins' blockbuster young-adult book series shattered all expectations in its opening weekend. It started massive, with a $20 million haul from 2,000 sold-out midnight screenings, but then held far better than anticipated, dropping just 25 percent from Friday to Saturday. (Twilight and Harry Potter, by comparison, fall closer to 50 to 60 percent in the same time frame.) The movie played equally well among females and males -- unlike the girl-friendly Twilight series -- but skewed young, with half the audiences under the age of 25, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the end, The Hunger Games had the third-biggest weekend opening ever, behind The Dark Knight ($158 million) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169 million). That makes it the biggest non-sequel opening, too. This movie is big, and the A+ CinemaScore grade given it by its audience of devotees ensures the sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, could do even better.
2. 21 Jump Street (Sony): $21.3 million in 3,121 theaters [Week 2]
Jump Street fell 41 percent in its second week, bringing its extremely respectable box office total to $71.1 million. Sadly, use of the street drug HFS, featured in the film, has quadrupled in the same period, leading to mass outbreaks of trippin' major ballsack.
3. Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (Universal): $13.1 million in 3,677 theaters [Week 4]
4. John Carter (Buena Vista): $5 million in 3,212 theaters [Week 3]
5. Act of Valor (Relativity): $2 million in 2,216 theaters [Week 5]
8. October Baby (Goldwyn): $1.7 million in 390 theaters
From the company that brought you 2008's Fireproof, the born-again firefighter movie starring Kirk Cameron, October Baby is about a 19-year-old college freshman who "suffers from epilepsy, asthma and depression," who finds out she was given up for adoption as a baby after surviving a "botched abortion." Opening in just 390 theaters, it scored one of the highest per-screen averages of the weekend, thanks to block buy-ups from conservative church and college groups.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.