The girl on fire is still burning bright! Lionsgate’s hotly anticipated sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trounced the competition over its first weekend at the box office, pulling in an estimated $161.1 million. That gross handily beats the $152.5 million opening of The Hunger Games, which opened in March 2012, and it stands as the best November debut of all time ahead of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which bowed with $142.9 million in 2009.
Only three films have ever opened higher than Catching Fire: The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million). Many prognosticators (this one included) thought Catching Fire might surpass Iron Man 3‘s opening earlier this year, but the superhero sequel had the notable advantage of 3-D ticket sales, and Catching Fire fell short. Still, if estimates hold up when final grosses are released tomorrow, Catching Fire will have bested The Dark Knight Rises as the highest 2-D opener of all time. Rises pulled in $160.9 million during its opening weekend in 2012. Even without 3-D appeal, Catching Fire played very well on IMAX screens. The large-screen format accounted for $12.6 million of its domestic debut. READ FULL STORY