The Hunger Games has broken box office records, raking in a stunning $19.7 million overnight to make it the highest-grossing midnight opener ever for a non-sequel.
The movie adaptation of author Suzanne Collins' action books, starring Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen, had already made $15 million in advance ticket sales, and it drew huge crowds as fans lined up outside theatres across the country to get a first-look at the film upon its release in the early hours of Friday.
The big opening also rockets The Hunger Games into seventh place in the list of top midnight grosses, beating Batman outing The Dark Knight and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, which both earned $17 million in midnight releases in 2008 and 2005, respectfully.
However, The Hunger Games has a long way to go before reaching the gold status of recent Twilight sequels - the last three movies have grossed over $26 million in midnight openings, while the final Harry Potter sequel, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, is way out front with $43.5 million.
The Hunger Games is expected to shatter further box office records when opening weekend figures are released on Sunday.