‘Catching Fire’ Box Office Behind Original ‘Hunger Games’ in U.S. – Still Blazing Everywhere Else

Keep in mind that preliminary Friday numbers are a poor indicator of weekend performance

Early box office numbers for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” suggest the film could fall $10 to $15 million short of its predecessor, which grossed $152.5 million over its opening weekend in North America — as well as come in well below pre-weekend tracking estimates, which pegged the sequel  to open at $160 to $172 million.

It’s important to note that projections from Friday matinees are historically unreliable indicators of weekend performance, particularly for a young adult franchise, which could still receive a boost from evening showings. 

See video: 31 of Jennifer Lawrence’s Funniest, Most Outrageous Moments

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Friday matinee numbers are actually comparable to “Iron Man 3,” which hit the after-burners in evening showings and went on to gross $174 million its opening weekend. Prognosticators have had a lot of fun debating whether “Catching Fire” would steal the crown for the year’s biggest opening; though that seems much less likely now, it’s still a possibility.

Though it appears “Catching Fire” will fall short of those expectations in the United States, its overseas numbers ensure the film will outshine the first movie by a healthy margin.

Also read: Jennifer Lawrence Tells Jon Stewart CNN Haircut Alert Was ‘The Weirdest Thing That Has Ever Happened to Me’ (Video)

Monstrous as the first “Hunger Games” as at the box office, 59 percent of its grosses came from the domestic box office. That is unusual for a blockbuster in recent years. “Catching Fire” has already put up big numbers in Brazil, China and several other territories, and it may double the $283 million the first film made overseas.

In other words, no matter what these very preliminary numbers tell us, the odds are still in Lionsgate’s favor.