Hunger Games Catching Fire

Pic to play at Rome fest Nov. 14 after world-preeming in London Nov. 11

Lionsgate will screen ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ at the eighth Intl. Rome Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

High-profile follow-up to last year’s “Hunger Games” blockbuster will appear out of competition Nov. 14, eight days before its U.S. preem and three days after its world premiere in London.

The “Catching Fire” Rome gala, for which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth are attending the red carpet, fits in nicely with artistic director Marco Mueller’s stated vision for the Eternal City event as a pre-Thanksgiving launching pad for high-profile Hollywood titles. The Rome Film Fest will be held Nov. 8-17 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.

The London and Rome “Catching Fire” launches prior to the U.S. release and day-and-date across most of the planet underscore the importance of international box office.

Wall Street analysts have predicted that “Catching Fire” will top $900 million in worldwide grosses after it opens Nov. 22 — far above $691 million box office for the first “Hunger Games.”

Pic, directed by Francis Lawrence, will bow theatrically in Italy on Nov. 27 via Universal.

The highly anticipated sequel begins as Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games. It is based on thre second novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, that sold over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone.

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