'Hunger Games' Books Cross Milestone

The hit series is neck-and-neck with the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy to become the bestselling titles of 2012.

With Avengers, Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises getting all the attention in theaters and Fifty Shades of Grey all the book press of late, it's easy to have lost sight of the Hunger Games juggernaut.

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New figures released today by Scholastic suggest the dimming of the spotlight hasn't mattered in terms of sales. 

The company said the series has crossed the fifty million-copy threshold with twenty-three million copies of the original Hunger Games in print followed by fourteen million of Catching Fire and thirteen million for series finale Catching Fire.

The number of copies of the trilogy in print has more than doubled since the start of the year. At the beginning of the year, Hunger Games had about 23.5 million copies in print.

Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade Publishing said, “It’s thrilling to see teen and adult readers enthralled by the same story and engaged in conversation about these books.”  

The year-to-date bestselling charts are dominated by two series: Fifty Shades of Grey and the Hunger Games.

The two are running neck-and-neck for the title of best-selling series of 2012. Fifty Shades recently passed the 20 million-copy threshold. Hunger Games is slightly ahead at about 26 million. Fifty Shades publisher Random House cites books sold while Hunger Games publisher Scholastic cites books in print so exact comparisons are difficult.

In historic terms, Hunger Games sales are even with or slightly ahead of Twilight at similar point in that series' history.

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For Scholastic, Hunger Games has been a huge boost to the bottom line. Sales at the company's trade publishing group (imprint of the Hunger Games) have jumped 109 percent over last year.  Fourth quarter sales--which coincided with the March release of the movie--nearly quadrupled from $38.5 million to $155.5 million.

The movie starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, which opened March 23, grossed $152.2 million its first weekend, the third best opening weekend ever. It went on to gross $404 million in the U.S., second only to the Avengers' $615 million for best of 2012.

The DVD is scheduled for release on Aug. 18. 

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