Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. rose to their highest levels ever in anticipation of the box-office results from “Hunger Games,” a movie the studio will release March 23.
The stock price briefly touched $14.50 Monday morning, the highest price since the Santa Monica studio started trading publicly in November 1998. The stock’s highest close to date is $13.91 on Feb. 24.
By late morning, the price had receded to $14, a gain of 80 cents or 6 percent for the day.
Website Boxoffice.com predicts $270 million in global ticket sales revenue for the opening weekend of “Hunger Games.”
Based on the success of the first move, Lions Gate could release four “Hunger Games” movies. Critics believe they could rival the popularity of Harry Potter or the Twilight movies.
Last October investor Carl Icahn sold his 33 percent stake in Lions Gate for about $7 per share, after trying unsuccessfully to take over the studio for two years. In a statement at the time of Icahn’s divestiture, Lions Gate said the price Icahn received was approximately the same as his cost for the shares.