Weekend Box Office: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Claims November Record with $161.1 Million

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire surprised no one by setting a new record for a November opening.  Earning an estimated $161.1 million from 4,136 locations, the high-profile sequel easily topped the previous record of $142.8 million, set by The Twilight Saga: New Moon in 2009.  Perhaps more significantly, Catching Fire also managed to place fourth on the list of all-time domestic debuts, putting it ahead of both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

Here is what the top ten looks like, as of this morning:

Title Opening
1. Marvel’s The Avengers $207.4
2. Iron Man 3 $174.1
3. Harry Potter Deathly Hallows 2 $169.1
4. Catching Fire $161.1
5. The Dark Knight Rises $160.8
6. The Dark Knight $158.4
7. The Hunger Games $152.5
8. Spider-Man 3 $151.1
9. Twilight Saga: New Moon $142.8
10. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2 $141

Analysis and this weekend’s top ten after the jump.

the-hunger-games-catching-fire-poster-finalI should begin by pointing out the obvious: right now, less than $1 million separates The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Dark Knight Rises on the list of all-time domestic openings. By the time actual earnings are reported on Monday, that estimate for Catching Fire could change. That means there is still a chance for Batman to catch Katniss. Of course, there is also a chance that Catching Fire will come out higher than $161.1 million but, for now, that is the number we’re dealing with.

If you’ve been following the progress of Catching Fire (and it’s been kind of hard to avoid), you know that it was always expected to be a monster. It was taken for granted that the sequel would open higher than The Hunger Games – between $160 and $170 million, by most calculations. In the days leading up to its release there was even some talk that Catching Fire would hit $175 million, but that turned out to be overly-optimistic. But for a film without the ticket-price advantage of 3D effects, $161 million is an incredible achievement – and no less so because we all saw it coming.

The overwhelming success of The Hunger Games (it’s opening ranked as the third-highest ever in March 2012) caught a lot of people by surprise. An untested franchise, The Hunger Games managed opened higher than time-tested favorites like Spider-Man and Harry Potter despite opening in the blockbuster-averse month of March. The film ended up earning over $690 million worldwide, including $408 million in the US (just under what Iron Man 3 took in this summer). In cases where a first-time franchise proves so popular, its sequel typically winds up with higher on opening weekend. New Moon, for example, more than doubled the opening of Twilight.

hunger-games-catching-fire-josh-hutcherson-jennifer-lawrenceBecause The Hunger Games started off so enormous, its sequel was never going to double its opening – at this point, a $300 million opening is still unimaginable. The addition of 3D effects might have been enough to put Catching Fire above Iron Man 3 in terms of domestic openings, but it seems silly to speculate at this point. Where the sequel is expected to gain significantly over its predecessor is on the international market.

 

Back in 2012, The Hunger Games took in $283 million overseas, or approximately 41% of its global total. That’s a big number, but giant franchises typically collect more than half of their global earnings from international markets –  earlier this year, Iron Man 3 took in 66% of its worldwide total outside of North America. Now that Lionsgate has established The Hunger Games as a global franchise, international numbers are already impressive. Catching Fire has already collected a total of $146.6 million from 63 territories. That gives the sequel a total of $307.7 million, or 45% higher than the original film’s worldwide debut.

Clearly, the opening of Catching Fire cast an enormous shadow over the rest of the top ten. Overall earnings reached $228 million (among the most lucrative frames of this year), but 70% of that total was claimed by just one film. Here is how the rest of the top ten looked:

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $161,100,000 $161.1
2.  Thor: The Dark World $14,117,000 $167.8
3.  The Best Man Holiday $12,500,000 $50.3
4.  Delivery Man $8,215,000 $8.2
5.  Free Birds $5,300,000 $48.5
6.  Last Vegas $4,400,000 $53.9
7.  Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa $3,450,000 $95.4
8.  Gravity $3,405,000 $245.5
9.  12 Years a Slave $2,800,000 $29.3
10.  Dallas Buyers Club $2,769,000 $6.4

 

The only new title brave enough to take on Katniss was Delivery Man. The Disney comedy starring Vince Vaughn was clearly hoping to counter-program this week’s box office behemoth, but came up short. Delivery Man was originally expected to open in the $15 million range but, instead, took in just $8.2 million from 3,306 locations. That’s less than half of what Vaughn’s last film, The Internship, opened to this summer, and few people will remember that as the comedians finest hour.

The good news for Disney is that their live-action failure is likely to be forgotten by Wednesday. That’s when the studio will open its latest animated feature Frozen nationwide. At just one theatre this weekend, Frozen took in an estimated $238,000, which bodes well for the extra-long holiday week ahead.

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  • Bucky

    I suppose that makes it the top non-3D opening.

    • Scurvy

      This is just the estimate. Wait till the actual comes out tomorrow since it’s only 300k above TDKR.

      I also don’t see why this is considered a feat. 3d splits are way down and they only add a few dollars per viewing. It’s not like it would have beaten The Avengers if it had the benefit of 3d…

      • Norrtron

        You don’t understand how being the 4th highest opening weekend of all time is a feat? Geesh, you’re a hard guy to impress.

      • Scurvy

        I understand that being the 4th highest opening all time is a feat. That’s why I don’t understand the people who feel the need to qualify that it’s 2d only. Let it stand as is. It’s right in line with other 2d openers on the list and adding 3d wouldn’t have added enough to it’s bottom line to break it into the top 3.

      • Harry

        Avengers opening weekend had 55 percent of its gross in 3D sales. Taking that into account it made around 176 million, still the top. Catching Fire is the 2nd best debut excluding the 3d fees. Then again, with inflation i wonder what the all time chart would look like.

      • Real Talk Bro

        Suck it up bro. Nolan just got his ass thoroughly handed to him by a chick lit YA book and he couldn’t best it even though he was adapting the greatest comic book character of all time. He’s a punk ass failure bitch who got his fraudulent ass exposed as a hack pseudo intellectual.

      • Bilbo

        Somebody get this Hothead out of here.

      • scurvy

        Lol @ people not waiting for to weekend actuals…

  • Scurvy

    Every movie in that top 10 was either adapted from a YA novel or a comic book.

    Interesting.

    • Leo Spaceman

      They have the biggest audience awareness. Other than Fanboys not many people know about Japanese Giant Robot punching Giant Monsters movies but everybody knows Adam Sandler.

      • Scurvy

        What does Adam Sandler have to do with comics and young adult novels?

      • Leo Spaceman

        It was a reference to the fact that Grown Ups 2 beat Pacific Rim at the box office. YA novels and comics are something that are widely known and people tend to go to things they know. People know Adam Sandler and it doesn’t matter how terrible the movie is, they don’t know Charlie Hunnan and they choose the thing they recognize.

  • pro346

    I wonder what tdkr would of made if the tragedy didn’t happen?

    • Lex Walker

      Probably not too much more, it had really mixed word of mouth, and even the positive critical reviews all essentially read like “it’s good, but…”

      • pro346

        mixed word of mouth?? mixed word of mouth movies don’t usually get 8.6 ratings on imdb……that’s higher than any marvel movie

      • Lex Walker

        You just tried to use IMDb ratings as a valid argument of quality. Your argument is now null. IMDb ratings, especially for any movie with fanboys, are incredibly skewed. They get upvoted because fanboys just want to see the movie in the IMDb’s top 250. IMDb ratings are not and never will be a valid resource for determining a movie’s actual quality or widespread popularity.

      • pro346

        your argument is also null and void…mixed word of mouth show me the proof….that’s right you have none.

      • Lex Walker

        Of course not, it’s word of mouth. It’s inherently unrecorded. Thinking isn’t your strong suit.

      • Um, Sure

        “Of course not, it’s word of mouth. It’s inherently unrecorded.”

        And yet somehow you’re magically tuned in to it?

      • scottish_punk

        “IMDb ratings are not and never will be a valid resource for determining a movie’s actual quality or widespread popularity.”

        No offense dude, but neither are you.

        A lot of people (including myself) had issues with some of what went on in TDKR. That doesn’t mean that all word of mouth was mixed. 88% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and a 78 on Metacritic (as opposed to a 70 for BB and an 82 for TDK, which isn’t that big of a drop) is pretty damn good, no matter how hard the skeptics try to spin it into negativity. Critical consensus DID NOT hurt this movie, because how could it? The very loud but very small minority who despised it’s very existence because of some plot holes? Because the film wasn’t what they built it up in their lofty little minds to be? Give me a break.

        Regardless of it’s flaws, TDKR was and IS a damn fine film, no matter how hard the internet denizens try to flame it.

      • Lex Walker

        I didn’t say I was a valid resource or even a resource at all, I merely pointed to the tepidly positive reviews and that people didn’t rave about The Dark Knight Rises the same way they did about The Dark Knight or even Batman Begins. Just like Iron Man 3, the attitude towards The Dark Knight Rises was essentially, ‘Well, it’s good, and you may as well if you saw the first two, you know, for closure.’ It’s a watchable and mostly entertaining movie, but one with a lot of flaws that didn’t exactly leave people with strong feelings about it one way or another. That’s mixed.

      • scottish_punk

        I see much differently. Positive is still positive in my eyes.

        Agree to disagree…strongly.

      • scottish_punk

        I see much differently. Positive is still positive in my eyes.

        Agree to disagree…strongly.

      • Vindicated by history

        Dark Knight Rises fell off hard after it’s big opening weekend, which topped the Dark Knight’s opening by quite a bit, and it didn’t even beat The Dark Knight at the domestic box office. The word of mouth killed that stank piece of rancid garbage.
        Everyone bought into the hype so much that it’s a year later and people are only slowly talking themselves down from it. At first everyone was like “it’s a flawless masterpiece” now their like “it was entertaining with flaws; so what if it wasn’t ‘good’ good, it’s still good.” Give it two more years and it’s going to be a joke al la Caddy Shack II.

      • bilbo

        Why the fk you care so much whether people like TDKR or not? and since when is the 10 highest opeing weekend movie list an indicator of quality?
        I mean they have got Iron man 3, Spider man 3 and two fcking Twilight movies on that list.

      • Strong Enough

        well he could use RT

      • Lex Walker

        RT’s fine, and at first glance TDKR did reallllly well, but once you read the reviews you start to notice the “It’s good, but it’s also realllly flawed” trend.

      • Strong Enough

        i don’t really think so. it has a pretty high score. but i think people had the problem of comparing it to TDK instead of letting it stand on its own. but i know what you mean

    • scottish_punk

      Honestly, a good guess would probably be $20-30 million. That’s just a guess, obviously. But I know from experience that TDKR played in a few empty screens the following couple days after the shooting. So many moviegoers were scared and freaked out, and given the circumstances, I can understand why. It hurts me greatly that something as horrible and tragic as this happened to those people. Such bullshit, y’know? It pains me to even think back on it.

  • Varun Hk

    just 2 more record breakers and the list will be purged of turd.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    The question is: is it worth a watch in the cinema?

    • scottish_punk

      Damn straight it is.

    • Migz13

      Yes.

    • bilbo

      First one sure wasn’t.
      But this time, reviews are great. The trailer looked really impressive and it has got Philip Seymour Hoffman in it. So yes it is worth watching in cinema.

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        I will follow your advice guys.
        Thanks

  • The Flobbit

    I really hope The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug will make it on the list. It’s really going to be such an awesome movie. All you guys have to go see it in cinemas…

    • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

      Sure I will. No way I will miss it.

      • The Flobbit

        Tell your friends. Middle Earth > Panem

        P.S. THG:CF was absolutely amazing.

      • Um, Sure

        Some people live in a world where they like two movies at the same time without the need to pick sides. Shocking, I know.

      • The Flobbit

        Shocking indeed.

  • scurvy

    Well this whole discussion is null and void. Weekend gross readjusted down to 158mil which puts it below tdk and tdkr.

    • Milo

      Still a huge opening, the big question now is whether it will beat the last one’s overall gross or not. If it does it will probably be the biggest movie of the year. I think it has a shot.

  • Pingback: ‘Catching Fire’ storms Australian box office – Top ten in full – Digital Spy UK | Top Ten of Everything

  • http://ebaligyani.blogspot.com/ Joseph Emil Adolfo

    The 2nd movie has a lot of flaws and frustrating fight scenes. The enemies were strong but they were easily defeated and with less fight scenes. Unlike the 1st one. I watch 1 and 2 here http://popnmov.blogspot.sg/2014/03/hunger-games-2012-hunger-games-catching.html

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