Weekend Wrap Up: “Catching Fire” Ignites the Record Books

Coming into this weekend, everyone knew that Catching Fire would be huge. The real questions were just how huge, and what records it could potentially set. Also, since the first Hunger Games was such a huge success, how much room for growth was there with the second installment? Well, any and all concerns were laid to rest, as Katniss Everdeen continued to establish her place among the pantheon of all-time box office wonders.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

File:Catching-Fire poster.jpg

The studio estimate for Catching Fire came in at a stupendous $161.1 million. I’m a little skeptical that Lionsgate may have overestimated a tad just so they could say the film cracked $160 million and also had the highest non-3D debut ever. We’ll find out on Monday. By any measure, though, this is a gargantuan opening, and if the estimate holds, it is in fact the biggest debut ever for a non-3D movie, just edging out The Dark Knight Rises. It also ranks as the fourth biggest opening ever, as well as the biggest November opening of all time, easily crushing New Moon by almost $20 million.

The marketplace will be much, much more crowed and the competition significantly stronger for Catching Fire than The Hunger Games, which had basically an entire spring season to itself. Even still, Thanksgiving should go a long toward cushioning its second weekend drop, but after that is when we’ll really get an idea for the long-term trajectory. Right now, matching the $408 million total of its predecessor is possible, but for now, I’d say Catching Fire will end up around $375 million or so.

Way back in second, Thor did not hold well in the face of a dominating number one picture. Down 61%, The Mighty Thor grossed $14.1 million and brought his total to $167.8 million. I’m actually slightly concerned about its chances of reaching $200 million, but it should get enough of a Thanksgiving boost that it can edge itself over that barrier.

The Best Man Holiday collapsed 58% to $12.5 million. It now has $50.4 million in the bank, already well more than its predecessor grossed in its entire run. The $17 million dollar film will end up wildly profitable. Delivery Man bombed in fourth place, continuing the string of misses for Vince Vaughn. It made just $8.2 million.

Free Birds continued its good legs, this time sliding 35% to $5.3 million. After a lackluster debut, decent legs have allowed this film to avert total disaster, at least. $48.6 million in total for the unwittingly disturbing film. Last Vegas dropped 48%  to $4.4 million. Like the actors in the film, this movie is in its twilight, but having grossed $53.9 million, it’s been a decent success.

Bad Grandpa is also looking to be on its last legs. Down 54%, it pulled in $3.5 million and brought the sum to $95.5 million. Gravity dropped 46% to $3.3 million, lifting the total to $245.5 million. In ninth, 12 Years a Slave grossed $2.8 million, down 39%. $29.4 million is a pretty solid total. Dallas Buyers Club breaks into the top ten, increasing 58% to $2.8 million, which raised its total to $6.5 million.

As I look over the upcoming release schedule, I’ve realized that the competition for Catching Fire really isn’t terribly steep actually. Aside from Frozen next weekend, the road is pretty smooth sailing. So I’ll be back next weekend to cover what should be an interesting Thanksgiving weekend, headlined by the aforementioned Frozen, along with Homefront and Black Nativity. Until we meet again.

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