Hunger Games sets US box office record

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Action film The Hunger Games has taken $155m (£97m) at the US box office in its opening weekend.

It is the biggest-ever tally for a film that is not a sequel, and the third best opening of all time.

Above it come last year's Harry Potter finale, which took $169.2m (£106.6m) in its first weekend, and 2008's The Dark Knight, which made $158.4m (£99.8m).

Based on Suzanne Collins' novel, Hunger Games follows a teenage girl fighting to survive a life-and-death game show.

It stars Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar nomination for hard-hitting drama Winter's Bone in 2011.

The film has been compared to the Twilight series, which was also based on a series of novels for young adults.

However, its box office takings have eclipsed the vampire series, whose best opening weekend came in 2009, when Twilight: New Moon raked in $141m (£88.8m).

Industry analyst Paul Degerabedian said the film's success marked "the birth of a franchise".

"To launch in this fashion is mind-boggling," added David Spitz, head of distribution at Lionsgate, which released the movie.

"I was so excited to see how everyone was responding to the material and how ecstatic they were to be a part of it."

Indeed, the film's opening figures may rise again, with final box office tallies due to be released by tracking company Exhibitor Relations on Monday.

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