' The Hunger Games' cleans up at the weekend box office

' The Hunger Games' cleans up at the weekend box office

Incredibly impressive opening exceeds (already high) expectations

Want to know where the happiest place on Earth is right now? Try Lionsgate. I can almost hear the champagne corks popping right now, after The Hunger Games raked in an incredible $155 million at the weekend box office. And yes, that's a history-making take. A big one.

The Hunger Games enjoyed the third-highest movie debut of all time, just behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight. And keep in mind, both of those films were sequels. Did anyone ever really doubt that The Hunger Games would score huge at the box office? Nah, me neither. But I have to say, this movie beat even my high expectations. We saw it on Saturday afternoon, in IMAX, and I absolutely loved it. I read the Suzanne Collins book two years ago and when I first found out a movie was coming, I was nervous. How could they possibly pull it off, and with a PG-13 rating, no less? They pulled it off. Fans of the book should be overjoyed. And the folks at Lionsgate studios? Yeah, there's champagne flowing freely.

It's really tough to write any kind of review of The Hunger Games without spoiling. If you haven't read the book, read it, by all means, but it's not a requirement. We went with two other people who hadn't read the book, and they loved the film as well. They were a bit more shocked at parts than we were, but they went nuts over it just like we did. And on the way home from the post-movie dinner, they begged us to swing into Barnes & Noble so they could snag a copy of Catching Fire, the follow-up to The Hunger Games. I told them to just go ahead and spring for the third and final installment, Mockingjay, but they hestitated. Want to bet they're already reading that one now?

Thank you to everyone involved in making The Hunger Games come alive on the big screen -- especially Jennifer Lawrence. I couldn't have asked for more from Katniss Everdeen, and I can't wait for the Catching Fire movie!