“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the film sequel starring Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen, had sales of $70.5 million in its first two days at U.S. and Canadian theaters, and is on track to set a record for the best November debut.
The movie, from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF), also stars Josh Hutcherson as Everdeen’s co-combatant, Peeta Mellark. The film opened in theaters worldwide yesterday, and is forecast to take in $166 million domestically this weekend, according to BoxOffice.com.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, forecasts $150 million or more, which would make it the best three-day opening for November. The record is held by the $142.8 million in sales “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” had in November 2009.
The original “Hunger Games” collected $152.5 million in receipts in its March 2012 premiere.
Only “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” the current No. 3 at $169.2 million, have brought in more on their opening weekends at U.S. and Canadian cinemas.
Lions Gate’s figure of $70.5 million included Thursday night showings. The studio declined to break out Friday’s results. The movie grossed $25.3 million in early screenings on Nov. 21, the company said.
“Catching Fire,” based on the Suzanne Collins novel, garnered an 89 percent favorable rating on RottenTomatoes.com, which aggregates critics’ reviews. The film picks up where “The Hunger Games” left off, with Everdeen and Mellark touring the fictional nation of Panem after winning the 74th Hunger Games.
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