After grossing $25.3 million in Thursday night previews, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has officially opened bigger domestically than the original film with an estimated Friday gross of $70.5 million (including the amount from previews). That is compared to the $67.3 million opening for The Hunger Games in March 2012.
Lionsgate is hoping that the movie, which is receiving rave reviews with a 89% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A” rating from CinemaScore exit polls, will set a new November opening record, dethroning “The Twilight Saga,” which holds the top three positions.
The first Twilight sequel “New Moon” currently holds the November opening record with $142.8 million which definitely seems attainable by “Catching Fire” as long as it’s not as frontloaded as the “Twilight” movies have been. (Note: All three “Twilight Saga” movies released in November had a slightly larger opening day on Friday than the number reported by “Catching Fire.”)
At the same time, “Catching Fire” opened in 65 overseas territories where it grossed another $64 million as it opened #1 in almost all of them, doubling the amount grossed by The Hunger Games in the same territories opening weekend.
Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.