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"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
© Lionsgate / "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
'Catching Fire' ablaze with $135M at box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is a scorching hit at the box office.

Lionsgate has released early numbers on what's expected to be one of the biggest November openings ever. "Catching Fire" has grossed $70.5 million domestically and $64 million internationally, bringing its total to $135 million, the studio reported Saturday.

Numbers were from Friday's opening day, but includes some scattered preview shows on Thursday night. The sequel gained $25.3 million from Thursday screenings.

"Catching Fire" is expected to bump two-week champ "Thor: The Dark World" out of the No. 1 slot. Full weekend ticket sales estimates at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak, will be released Sunday. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

Totals for "Catching Fire" are expected to reach $150 million domestically over the weekend, though some reports estimated a $170 million opener.

Also: Critics reviews

"This is a testament to the power of the books, the way the first film resonated across the world with audiences and Jennifer Lawrence's continued success and popularity, particularly in this role," said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak of the "Catching Fire" success. "And the movie has gotten great reviews, which means it will get great word of mouth."

The impressive opening of "Catching Fire" is expected to mark the eighth-highest domestic opening to date. "The Hunger Games," with $67.3 million its opening night in 2012, holds the title of the sixth-highest opening weekend with $152.5 million. "The Avengers" sits at No. 1 with $207.4 million.

More: Eye Candy: 'The Hunger Games' edition

According to poll data, the popularity of "Catching Fire" is crossing over to all moviegoers, as compared to the female-heavy audience of "Hunger Games." About 12 percent more male moviegoers saw "Catching Fire" and the audience was split equally between those older and younger than 25.

The smoldering "Catching Fire" ticket sales are in line with what the studio was expecting, said Dergarabedian.

"They are going to get a wonderful second weekend with Thanksgiving," he added. "It is so important to have Thanksgiving as your second weekend. People have time off work and go out and catch up on their movie-going. It's a brilliant position to be in."

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Nov 24, 2013 12:02AM
seriously an amazing movie, loved it& the actors!
Nov 24, 2013 10:59AM
I was impressed. I loved it. That was my least favorite book of the three, but I liked the movie better then the first! Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. The love triangle was totally believable and so was her anguish. The ending- and I mean the VERY last scene of her was absolutely amazing.
Nov 24, 2013 8:13AM
Hooray for the latest "Hunger Games" movie.  Opening weekend box office grosses are an important milestone in a movie's life, and hopefully it'll have legs through the holidays.  But unless moviegoers are willing to go out and see this movie over and over, this first weekend gross is likely a high and it's all downhill from here.  Still, rarely does the second installment of a film top the first's opening weekend grosses at the box office.  It's a great achievement, as is the artistry in the film.  Kudos to cast and crew!!!
Nov 24, 2013 5:30AM
Boy did this movie Suck! Wading through the first hour I fell asleep. Shouldn't have to waste that much time before getting some action. Only reason this was a success was because the weekend was full of stinkers.
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