Let the games begin.
Advanced tickets for Lionsgate’s second installment in the mega-grossing “Hunger Games” franchise, “Catching Fire,” went on sale Tuesday — and in less than an hour, since tickets went on sale at 9 a.m. PST, “Catching Fire” represented 23% of all tickets sold in the last 24 hours, according to Movietickets.com.
By comparison, “Gravity,” which opens Friday, is the next-highest pre-seller, with 16%.
On Fandango, meanwhile, “Catching Fire” represented 70% of Tuesday’s entire ticket sales, outselling all other current releases 8 to 1. The film also is outpacing advanced sales for all other past films 50 days prior to the release.
“Catching Fire” hits theaters worldwide on Nov. 22.
Ticket buyers can purchase “Catching Fire” tickets online via Fandango or Movietickets.com or through participating exhibitors’ websites. The former sites are offering swag with the purchase of a ticket, including a free download of the film soundtrack’s “Lights” by Phantogram, as well as the chance to win various exclusive sweepstakes prizes such as a trip to the film’s L.A. premiere.
Long-lead projections already anticipate “Catching Fire” will open to north of $160 million during its first three days domestically. That would put the sequel among the top five biggest openings of all time.
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The first “Hunger Games” currently has the sixth-highest domestic opening of all time, with $152 million. The original went on to gross north of $690 million worldwide.