November 21, 2013

Weekend Box Office: “Catching Fire” Strikes Tinder Tonight


THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, the 600-pound gorilla of the holiday movie box office season (The Hobbit 2 is by comparison a smaller simian, at least in the US) opens tonight, and the question is just how big it will be.  The first Hunger Games opened in March 2012 and had the 6th biggest opening weekend ever at $152.6M, which included $19.7M from Thursday midnight screenings.  Mitch Metcalf predicts a $167M start for Catching Fire, which would make it #4 on the all-time list, $7.1M behind Iron Man 3 at #2.  (No one is touching The Avengers’ all-time record $207.4M, at least not until Avengers 2 comes out.)

One point to note:  when Hunger Games opened, movies still began their runs at 12:01AM Friday, but a few months later, following the terrible events in Aurora at the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, theaters began opening event movies (and even non-event movies) as early as 8PM on Thursday night, the results of which are usually rolled in to the Friday number.  Essentially, this gives new arrivals a 28-hour opening day.  Iron Man 3 made $15.6M from those screenings, the highest so far, and Catching Fire will benefit from them too.  (It’s also unclear how the many theaters running Hunger Games/Catching Fire double-features starting late this afternoon will be reporting that box office.)  In the short term, that may give Catching Fire a leg up on a giant “Friday” number (the current record is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at $91.1M–which didn’t have Thursday evening screenings), although over the course of the weekend it may even out.

We’ll have updated numbers here at SHOWBUZZDAILY all weekend as soon as they’re available, so stay with us.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."