Cinemas Add 3 A.M. ‘Hunger Games’ Showings to Meet Demand

U.S. cinema chains are adding 3 a.m. screenings of “The Hunger Games” tomorrow to meet demand for tickets to the Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) film.

“We’re adding screens every minute,” John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, said today at a press conference in Washington where he discussed 2011 box-office statistics.

The film, based on a 2008 novel in which children fight to the death on live television in a post-apocalyptic world, may produce $120 million in ticket sales this weekend, Fithian said. That would make it the top-grossing film opening ever in March, he said.

A $120 million opening would edge past Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s “Alice in Wonderland” to become the 10th-largest first weekend of all time, according to data from researcher Boxofficemojo.com.

“The Hunger Games” is playing on more than 10,000 screens, Fithian said, with another couple of thousand to be added tomorrow, the film’s opening day.

Lions Gate dropped 6.1 percent to $14.72 at 3:14 p.m. in New York trading. The shares gained 88 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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