Lionsgate pic earns $68.3 mil, on track for weekend total north of $140 mil

An opening day crowd ravenous for “The Hunger Games” generated $68.3 million in coin for Lionsgate, the record for a non-sequel Friday gross.

The actioner snagged $19.7 million in Thursday midnight grosses, the largest late night haul for a non-sequel and the highest for an Imax non-summer nor holiday 2D opening, but the records don’t quit there. “Hunger Games” is already Lionsgate’s largest opening weekend on record, beating back 2009’s $41 million bow for Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail,” and it will be Lionsgate’s highest grossing film of all time, skedded to beat Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11″ $119 million run by Sunday.

Three-day predictions have run the gamut from $125 million to north of $140 million, the latter of which seems to fit, particularly if the older segment of the target aud decides to brave the opening weekend rush and see it now. Pic also opens day-and-date in 47 markets, potentially poising it to take the int’l B.O. as well.

Should the bow exceed $140 million, it will be the 20th film to cross $100 million in an opening frame and among the top 10 domestic openers of all time.

“Hunger Games” is the only wide opener this weekend, pushing all holdovers to a distant second. Sony-MGM’s “21 Jump Street” made $6.3 million Friday, followed by Universal’s “The Lorax with $3.2 million. Bringing up the rear, Disney’s John Carter earned $1.4 million.

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