'HUNGER GAMES' BATTLES TO $155M OPENING WEEKEND: LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Hunger Games" has filled fan appetites with a $155 million opening weekend that puts it near the top of the domestic record book.
The huge haul marks the third-best debut ever in terms of revenue, behind the $169.2 million opening for last year's "Harry Potter" finale and the $158.4 million opening of 2008's "The Dark Knight."
"Harry Potter" and "Batman" were well-established franchises. "The Hunger Games" set a revenue record for a non-sequel, taking in more than twice what the first "Twilight" movie did with its $69.6 million opening weekend.
While it's already a blockbuster on its North American home turf, "The Hunger Games" had a much slower start overseas. The film took in a modest $59.3 million in 67 markets, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia and Australia.
The "Harry Potter" finale took in a record $314 million overseas in its debut last summer, and half a dozen other films have opened with more than $200 million outside the United States.
Even "John Carter," a dud domestically, managed to take in more than "The Hunger Games" overseas, launching with $70.6 million in 55 international markets two weekends ago.
Still, "The Hunger Games" amassed a worldwide total of $214.3 million in just a few days.
NO TAKERS FOR $14,600 VALET AT BURBANK AIRPORT: BURBANK (AP) — A super luxury valet parking service at Southern California's Bob Hope Airport is being scrapped because of low demand. Make that no demand.
Not a single person signed up for the $14,600 a year Black Diamond parking option, which offered shortened wait times and reserved, extra-wide, covered spaces.
Standard Parking discontinued the service after taking over operations at the Burbank airport last month. It debuted in December 2009.
Standard vice president Clint Joy tells the newspaper that the Platinum valet option, for $31 a day, has also not been faring well.
NEWSPAPER RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT BAY BRIDGE PANEL: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A report in the Sacramento Bee is raising some questions about the panel that evaluated the work on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Three of the four members of the Toll Bridge Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel have professional or financial ties to Caltrans, or to contractors who worked on the bridge, while three helped select the Bay Bridge design.
The panel released its findings on Friday declaring work by the California Department of Transportation as correct and that the bridge was safe.
The Bee says the panel's review came after reports last fall that a Caltrans employee had fabricated integrity tests on other structures, and failed to ensure accuracy while examining the foundation of the new span's main tower.