Ravenous moviegoers propelled Lionsgate’s sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to a $307.7 million global opening, easily outpacing the first film’s $211.8 million debut in March 2012.
In North America, Catching Fire scored the top November opening of all time with $161.1 million, slaying the record set by fellow YA film adaptation The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.8) and marking the fourth-biggest opening of all time after The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million) and the final Harry Potter film ($169.2 million). Catching Fire enjoys the distinction of toppling The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million).
Catching Fire is already a much bigger player overseas than the first film, launching to $146.6 million from 65 markets. (The tally includes grosses from Brazil, where the film opened last weekend.) It’s doing double the business of Hunger Games overall, and even more in key markets, such as Russia, where it was up 64 percent.
Producer Nina Jacobson said Lionsgate has been much more aggressive internationally in marketing the film, culminating with a whirlwind premiere tour last week. “They really shifted the orientation to a global orientation. I’m incredibly thrilled with the domestic numbers, but I think we are all really excited to see the international plan paying off,” she said.
Hunger Games topped out at $408 million domestically and $283.2 million internationally for a global total of $691.2 million; Catching Fire is expected to do substantially more, particularly offshore.
The sequel, earning an A CinemaScore, is reaching a broader audience than Hunger Games did, with males making up 12 percent more of the domestic audience, or 41 percent. Catching Fire also played evenly in terms of age, with 50 percent under the age of 25 and 50 percent over.
Directed by Francis Lawrence, the sequel returns Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in the lead roles. Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone also star.