‘Catching Fire’ Burning Up the Box Office with Nearly $150 Million

Hunger Games Catching Fire

But sequel expected to fall short of original for eighth highest domestic opening of all time

Updated estimates now have Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” earning very close to $150 million this weekend, making it the biggest bow for a November opener on record, but that is likely to be its only claim.

The hotly anticipated sequel earned $70.5 million domestically, piling Friday grosses on top of an impressive $25.3 million from Thursday night showings. Its early start had “Catching Fire” ahead of its predecessor by about 28%, but that margin is tightening.

“The Hunger Games” earned $67.3 million its opening night, just 5% behind “Catching Fire’s,” and if the sequel is to beat its predecessor, it’ll only do so by a hair’s width. “Hunger Games” bowed to $152.5 million in March of 2012, the sixth highest opening of all time and a thin margin ahead of “Catching Fire’s” three-day domestic estimate.

Overseas is a different story. “Catching Fire’s” current int’l cume is $64 million and more than doubling its predecessor’s take in several markets including the Mexico, Russia, the U.K. and Germany, where its earning four times as much.

Early exit poll data suggests the audience gender gap from the first “Hunger Games” film is shrinking. Male attendance on Friday jumped 12% from the original to 41% of overall auds, and moviegoers are about equally split between the over-25 and under-25 crowd.

Early talk that “Catching Fire” might give “Iron Man 3’s” bow a run for its money may have officially died out — that would’ve made the film the highest opening of 2013 and the second highest bow on record — but it is nonetheless a very strong start with persuasive critical buzz (89% on Rotten Tomatoes) and aud approval (“A” CinemaScore) that’ll fuel word of mouth going into the Thanksgiving holiday.

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  1. Julienne says:

    My kids loved it! Couldn’t stop raving about it.

  2. loco73 says:

    This is a movie that actually deserves the success its getting. As far as sequels go, “Catching Fire” has improved in every way possible on its predecessor. “The Hunger Games” was a good movie to begin with, but the second installment in the franchise, “Catching Fire”, is even better. And I’m far, far from being the YA target audience! LOL!

    But as a moviegoer, I really enjoyed watching it, way more than “Iron Man 3” which was a decent movie, and definitely far more than “Thor: The Dark Country”. I’m getting tired and weary of Marvel’s movies…there is such a thing as overloading, plus on top of that the TV show etc, etc.

    Definitely worth watching even if you, like myself, have not read the books. I liked the movie on its own merit , for the great cast, the acting, beautiful cinematography etc.

  3. Kim Mykel Rayekcionne says:

    I’ll say this much for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, while it won’t meet any of the nearly impossible challenges waged against it, beat Iron Man 3 opening weekend, outgross the first movie in the Hunger Games franchise, obtain the biggest first day opening in box office history, etc., it will still ignite a flurry of YA films to be produced in the future.

  4. EK says:

    Boxoffice reporting has been a trade paper staple for decades. In recent years it has also become a regular feature in the commercial media, both newspapers and television. Nothing new or startling here.

  5. Janessiqueefa says:

    As of noon Saturday CST, it has not made 150 million. Variety, your headlines are misleading and lacking in integrity. Scratch the word misleading. You’re dishonest just to get eyeballs.

    • KL says:

      Thursday Night Previews=25 million, friday night north american box office 70 million, plus an additional 64 million worldwide = 159 million worldwide as of saturday.

      • Janessiqueefa says:

        saturday at what time? 9.am PST? Variety has a long history of these misleading ads. They’ve done it with movies that don’t premiere outside of the USA the same weekend. Whatever Variety is paying you, it doesn’t remove the taint of unethical journalistic practices. Although it’s not journalism at Variety. It’s infotainment. Variety is pretty much EOnline without the herpes of the Kardashians

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