The “Hunger Games” sequel and animated family film “Frozen” — coming in No. 2 — are turning in the best Thanksgiving performances of all time.
Holiday moviegoers remained ravenous for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Friday, putting the sequel on course to score one of the best second weekends in the history of the film business, not accounting for inflation.
The Lionsgate pic grossed $31.3 million from 4,163 theaters for a domestic total of $253.3 million and stunning global haul of $482.3 million. If traffic holds at these levels, Catching Fire is poised to gross $110 million-plus for the five-day Thanksgiving stretch (Wednesday-Sunday) and $75 million-plus for the weekend itself in North America.
Costing $130 million to produce, Catching Fire could edge out Avatar ($75.6 million) and The Dark Knight ($75.2 million) to boast the top second weekend (three-day) on record after The Avengers ($103.1 million).
Disney’s 3D animated entry Frozen, opening Wednesday, also continued to soar, grossing $26.9 million from 3,742 locations for a three-day domestic total of $53.5 million and projected five-day debut in the $93 million range.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale The Snow Queen, Frozen — earning a coveted A+ CinemaScore — tells the story of a fearless princess (Kristen Bell) who sets off on an epic journey to find her sister, whose icy powers have caused an eternal winter. Last weekend, the 3D pic, costing $150 million to make, did big business when it played exclusively at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
Between them, Frozen and Catching Fire are serving up a record-breaking Thanksgiving. Frozen is poised to score the top holiday debut of all time, eclipsing the $80.1 million five-day debut of Pixar’s Toy Story 2 in 1999. It’s also destined to score the top opening for a Disney Animation Studios title, besting the $68.7 million debut of Tangled over Thanksgiving in 2010.
Catching Fire, now in its second weekend, will mark the top-grossing Thanksgiving film of any movie, topping previous record-holder Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ($82.4 million). It also nabbed the best gross ever for Thanksgiving day — $14.9 million from 4,163 theaters — besting the $13.1 million earned by Toy Story 2.
Tag: Box Office
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.