Last March, The Hunger Games took the world by storm, topping the global box office to finish up with $691m., breaking records left, right, and centre. So it should really come as no surprise that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire would make a repeat performance over the weekend in its November slot.
The film opened huge at the North American box office over the weekend, with early estimates putting the figures at $161.1m. across the three days, totting up a massive $70.5m. on Friday alone.
It now sits comfortably above The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which previously took $142.8m., to become the highest-grossing November bow in the US. Not only that, but it also now sits impressively at #4 on the biggest debuts in the US of all time, inching past The Dark Knight ($158.4m.) and The Dark Knight Rises ($160.8m.), beaten only by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($169.1m.), Iron Man 3 ($175.3m.), and of course the astounding debut from Joss Whedon’s The Avengers ($207.4m.).
Catching Fire has also been topping box offices across the globe, with early numbers estimating a $146.6m. foreign bow, for a combined $307.7m.
Last year, the original The Hunger Games opened to $211.8m. around the world, so for Lionsgate to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire outperform the first film by almost 50% is a huge victory for the studio.
Francis Lawrence boarded the film as director this time around in Gary Ross’ place, with Simon Beaufoy adapting Suzanne Collins’ original best-selling novel. Lawrence has already signed on to helm the final two-part film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, with Danny Strong adapting the novel into two parts for the studio.
Mockingjay – Part 1 will be hitting cinemas in November 2015, with the franchise concluding with Mockingjay – Part 2, and you’d better believe that Lionsgate will be hoping for repeat, record-breaking performances once more, now that Catching Fire has set the bar for November releases in the years to come.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is now playing in regular and IMAX cinemas all over the globe, and is on track to be one of the biggest films of the year. The Hunger Games fell short of the billion-dollar threshold by $300m. last year, but with such an impressive bow, Catching Fire may well soon be the latest to join the club.