LOS ANGELES: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire blazed straight to the top of weekend movie charts, setting a US and Canadian record for November ticket sales and hauling in a huge $307.7 million worldwide.
Ardent fans poured into theatres for the second instalment in the Hunger Games series starring Jennifer Lawrence as scrappy heroine Katniss Everdeen, the skilled archer who becomes a beacon of hope for the oppressed residents of the fictional nation of Panem.
Catching Fire collected an estimated $161.1 million Thursday through Sunday in the United States and Canada, a record domestic debut for the month of November. It topped the $152.5 million opening for The Hunger Games in March 2012 that established the series as a blockbuster franchise.
The new film scored 2013’s second-biggest debut, behind the May opening of $174.1 million for superhero sequel Iron Man 3, and also marked the fourth-biggest domestic film opening in history.
Playing in 65 countries around the world, Catching Fire also grabbed $146.6 million in foreign sales through Sunday, according to distributor Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
The second film follows Katniss on a victory tour with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) after their collective win in the annual teen death match staged by the government to keep order. As their heroic actions set off an underground movement for revolution, the two are forced back in to the arena to fight for their lives.
Marvel superhero sequel Thor: The Dark World finished in second place in the weekly charts, according to studio estimates provided by Rentrak.
In third place, romantic comedy The Best Man Holiday earned $12.5 million. The movie stars Taye Diggs, Terence Howard as part of an ensemble cast of friends who re-unite at Christmas. The new Vince Vaughn comedy, Delivery Man, finished in fourth place with $8.2 million. Animated movie Free Birds, about a pair of time-travelling turkeys, finished fifth with $5.3 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2013.