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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire powers to $307.7 million global debut

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Story by Jack Foley

THE Hunger Games: Catching Fire has powered to a $307.7 million world-wide debut, easily surpassing the opening take of the original, which grossed $211.8 million in March 2012.

In the US, the film took a whopping $161.1 million to record the top November opening of all time.

In doing so, the sequel beat fellow Young Adult film adaptation The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.8).

It also marked the fourth-biggest opening of all time after Avengers Assemble ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million) and the final Harry Potter film ($169.2 million).

Overseas, Catching Fire is doing double the business of the first film overall, with Russia proving to be an especially strong marketplace.

Producer Nina Jacobson attributed the grand opening to a more aggressive marketing campaign, as well as the critical acclaim surrounding the series.

“They really shifted the orientation to a global orientation,” she said of the marketing. “I’m incredibly thrilled with the domestic numbers, but I think we are all really excited to see the international plan paying off.”

Directed by Francis Lawrence, who replaced original director Gary Ross, the sequel returns Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in the lead roles, as well as Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz in key supporting roles.

It also introduces new characters played by the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone.

The weekend’s only other new nationwide entry was Vince Vaughn comedy Delivery Man, which placed fourth with $8.2 million.

The figure marked the worst American debut of Vaughn’s career for a film debuting in excess of 1,000 cinemas and is the actor’s third film to falter at the box office after The Internship and The Watch.

The film is based on the true story of a sperm donor who fathers 500 children and is a remake of a Canadian film, Starbuck.

The remainder of the US top five was comprised of Thor: The Dark World, which continued to draw in big numbers despite the presence of Catching Fire. The Marvel Studios’ 3D tentpole grossed $14.1 million to place second.

African-American comedy The Best Man Holiday also held firm in third place with $12.5 million to bring its US total to $50.4 million.

Animated family film Free Birds rounded out the top five, grossing $5.3 million for a US total of $48.6 million despite poor reviews.

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