7TH UPDATE: The 1 PM football games are starting, so I will be brief. International numbers for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire are pouring in now, and they are as good as the domestic numbers. The film has grossed $146.6 million in 63 territories, which puts its global opening weekend gross at $307.7 in 65 territories. That’s 45% better than the $211.8 million worldwide that The Hunger Games grossed in its opening weekend. That puts the film halfway to matching the $286.3 million international gross of that original film. It opened in the top spot in nearly all markets, more than doubling The Hunger Games in most markets according to Rentrak. Germany and Denmark tripled their opening weekend numbers while UK, Netherlands and Sweden were 2.5 times better. Russia was 1.5 times better than the original’s opening. Meanwhile WB’s Gravity opened to $35.5 million in China. Like I said, a good weekend for everyone except Carl Icahn.
6TH UPDATE, 9:29 am PST: Well, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hit the Saturday numbers Deadline reported in timely fashion for insomniacs, and the film is now expected to hit $161.1 million. Besides trouncing the competition, and beating Twilight Saga: Full Moon for biggest November opening, how does it rate for other records? According to Rentrak, here’s the deal: Catching Fire generated the 2nd best debut of 2013 behind Iron Man 3‘s $174.1 million; it marks the fourth best opening weekend of all time, trailing The Avengers‘ $207 million, Iron Man 3 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2‘s $169.2M. Catching Fire did better than The Dark Knight Rises‘ $160.9 million. In IMAX, Catching Fire’s domestic weekend gross is an estimated $12.6M on 347 screens, also a record for November 3-day launch as it passed Skyfall‘s $12.5 million. It certainly positions the film to surpass the $408 million grossed domestically by the first film, given there’s a long holiday weekend coming up. Lionsgate gets two more bites at the apple, as it is telling the three-book tale in four movies in a blatant cash grab. I have yet to see where this dilution of a crackling three novel story benefits anyone other than the studio when it is stretched out into another film (I think it hurt The Twilight Saga, because the third installment, Bella’s pregnancy, was excruciating.) Author Suzanne Collins is in the mix on these films, so maybe they’ll add stuff. But if these authors wanted to tell trilogies in four installments, they would have written four books, right?
Analyzing far in Catching Fire‘s rear view mirror, the other major release, Delivery Man, didn’t deliver much at all as counter-programming. Maybe the film (studio insiders said it cost $22 million) would have fared better had it opened one week ago against The Best Man Holiday, because clearly Catching Fire consumed most of the oxygen this weekend. Maybe it would have been better to simply avoid such a competitive time period. Thor: The Dark World saw a 61% drop since last weekend, and The Best Man Holiday was off 58%, showing Catching Fire fatigue. How are the Oscar films faring? 12 Years A Slave is running out of steam, Dallas Buyers Club is working in core areas and breakout potential seems dubious. Nebraska bowed just okay and Book Thief a little less than that while Philomena got off to a more encouraging start. The next big family film, Disney’s Frozen, did great in one house and opens wide November 27. The other animation juggernaut, Despicable Me 2, got a bit of new life in 295 theaters, squeaking out $342,000. Speaking of the record books, the $76 million film is at $916.5 million worldwide gross. Universal’s all-time record holder is Jurassic Park, which grossed $118 million worldwide in a 3D re-release which put it just over the $1 billion mark. In order to crack that record, Despicable Me 2 will need to open in China, which should be in the cards but hasn’t yet been solidified. Here is an updated look at how the Top 10 films will finish the weekend:
1) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
PG-13/ Lionsgate/ New/ Runs: 4,163/ Friday: $70.1 million; Saturday: $52.8 million. Sunday: $36.9 million. Weekend Total: $160.6 million. Per-screen average: $36,586. Total domestic gross: $160.6 million.