Lionsgate said on Friday morning (23) this was the highest non-sequel North American midnight performance in history and the seventh biggest of all time, beating among others The Dark Knight’s $18.5m score back in July 2008.

The North American record books will also note that the midnight launch achieved the seventh biggest midnight launch and delivered the highest IMAX 2D release of all time outside of summer or holiday periods.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 recorded the biggest domestic midnight opening of $43.5m in July 2011.

Insiders say The Hunger Games could gross as much as $125m over the weekend, setting up what will become a lucrative franchise for post-Saw Lionsgate.

Alice In Wonderland set the March opening weekend record of $116.1m in 2010.

The action adventure based on the first of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy also opens this weekend on 7,700 prints in 69 international territories.