Among the late-night shows, ABC's Nightline remained the top-rated show for the third week in a row among both total viewers and those 25-54, the key demographic group for advertisers during the late-night periods. Nightline counted 3.80 million total viewers of which 1.49 million were in the 25-54 age group. NBC's The Tonight Show was only slightly behind with 3.77 million total viewers and 1.43 million in the demo. CBS's Late Show with David Letterman placed third with 2.74 million viewers and 1.21 million in the demo. It should be pointed out, however, that the numbers for Nightline reflected only the period between 11 35 p.m. and midnight, while those for the CBS and NBC shows reflect the period from 11 35 to 12 30. Audiences for the latter two networks drop off appreciably after midnight.


Lions Gate Entertainment investors, who have seen their shares in the studio soar in recent weeks on expectations that The Hunger Games will become one of the biggest hits of the year and launch a lucrative franchise were apparently unwilling to wait for the weekend box office figures to confirm those predictions. Many of them on Thursday decided to cash out, sending shares in the "minimajor" down 7.2 percent to $14.55. At least one analyst noted that with the stock nearly doubling over the past few months, the current price reflects full value. Meanwhile, speculation continued over how much the movie will earn this weekend, with some predictions running as high as $140 million. Advertising Age , however, in an article by Seraj Bharwani, chief analytics officer of Visible Measures, figured that it would take in around half that amount -- $70-80 million -- based on the number of people who have viewed the online trailer of the movie. Daily Variety reported early today that the film earned about $25 million during midnight previews. That would rank it in fifth place for midnight screenings behind the final Harry Potter movie and the three Twilight movies. However, the studio said later that the figure was actually quite lower, $19.735 million, putting it at No. 7 on the midnight chart. Nevertheless, noted veteran box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, that would represent the "highest non-sequel midnight [opening] of all time."