Expected to open big on the box office, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" did not disappoint. The second installment of the "Hunger Games" series played in 4,163 locations in North America and garnered $161.1 million at its first domestic weekend box office. It becomes one of the biggest hits this year and the biggest November debut ever.
"It's really become a phenomenon," said David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate. "We've established now a better opening than the first, and now we're entering into the Thanksgiving and Christmas period, which is very, very lucrative."
"Catching Fire" also lands itself in the fourth position of the best domestic opening ever. "The Avengers" remains atop with $207 million, followed by "Iron Man 3" at $174 million and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II" at $169 million. For being released in the same year with "Iron Man 3", the Jennifer Lawrence -starring movie failed to take this year's biggest box office opening title.
The second movie sees a shift in the audience member. If "The Hunger Games" gravitated towards the older and women, the sequel attracted more youngsters and men now that more bloody actions were included. The first movie drew 71 percent female audience but the number was down to 59 percent in "Catching Fire".
Internationally, "Catching Fire" has made a remarkable worldwide opening, taking in a total of $307.7 million. Thanks to its massive campaign and promotional appearances abroad, the movie appealed to such countries as Germany, Britain, Spain, Italy and France. "If the numbers continue to play out, we have really grown the audience exponentially," Tim Palen, Lionsgate's chief marketing officer, said on Sunday, November 24.
Another new wide release that makes it to the top 10 box office this weekend is Vince Vaughn comedy "Delivery Man" that opened with $8.2 million and landed in number 4. "Thor: The Dark World" slipped to number 2 with $14.1 million. Romantic comedy "The Best Man Holiday" landed at number 3 with $12.5 million in its second week.