After opening this past Friday, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has already surpassed expectations at the box office in only three days. The sequel to last year’s hit, The Hunger Games, delivered November’s highest opening weekend box office of all-time with a jaw-dropping $161.1 million domestic take. The previous champ was The Twilight Saga: New Moon, with $142.8 million in 2009.
According to Forbes, Catching Fire has already grossed $307.7 million worldwide against a production budget of $130 million. That sounds like a big hit to me. In 2012, The Hunger Games took in a total box office of $691.2 million with $408 million coming from domestic movie theaters and $283.2 million coming from foreign markets.
Catching Fire is now fourth on the overall highest grossing domestic opening weekend list. Only The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($169.1 million) stand in front of the sequel film. Catching Fire raced ahead of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises ($160.8 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), which now both sit at #5 and #6, respectively.
There is some speculation that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire could’ve been a bigger hit when you consider that it was only presented in 2D and IMAX formats. The film took in $12.6 million from IMAX screenings, and if the film was up-converted to 3D, like most modern blockbusters, the opening box office could’ve raced upwards to an additional $15 million. It might be hard for Lionsgate executives not to think about a potential $177.1 million opening weekend, if the movie was in 3D. They might consider it for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 next year.
It also seems that Catching Fire might have some legs going into the Thanksgiving holiday. The chief competition will be Disney’s Frozen, Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy, and the old school actioner Homefront. Disney’s newest animated film has already grossed $237,600 from only one theater in Los Angeles, and will open wider on November 27th with a five-day holiday weekend ahead of it. Most believe that Catching Fire will still be the #1 movie in the country next week, but Frozen could give it a run for it’s money.
Rounding out the top five box office this week is Thor: The Dark World ($14.1 million), Best Man Holiday ($12.5 million), Delivery Man ($8.2 million), and the animated feature film Free Birds ($5.3). Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is still in the top 10 this week, adding $3.4 million to an amazing $577 million worldwide box office take.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is estimated to a make near $1 billion. If the film keeps up this record-breaking pace, it might just top that. Catching Fire is in theaters now!! Read our review here.