ABC Family has swooped in to pick up the basic cable rights to Lionsgate’s blockbuster The Hunger Games, which just opened with $155 million at the North American box office this past weekend, the third-highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. (The movie’s worldwide opening weekend gross was $214.3 million). “This tremendous opening weekend reinforces what we have already learned — a powerful heroine, themes of romance and iconic characters will keenly resonate with our Millennial audience,” ABC Family president Michael Riley said. The deal between ABC Family and Lionsgate also includes the TV rights to the upcoming second movie in the Hunger Games franchise, Catching Fire, with The Hunger Games alone expected to fetch around $24 million. It will begin airing on ABC Family in 2014. At ABC Family, The Hunger Games franchise joins another blockbuster movie franchise based on a popular book series, Harry Potter. The deal marks a rare No.1 movie to go to a basic cable network other than FX, which has acquired the films that were No. 1 at the box-office nine of the first 11 weeks of 2012, most recently 21 Jump Street and The Lorax. FX also owns the rights to the blockbuster Twilight franchise.
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