‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Sells 3.9 Million Discs, Digital Sales Soar 40%

Sequel is a home entertainment juggernaut

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” scored the biggest digital debut in Lionsgate history, the studio said Tuesday.

Lionsgate did not provide exact numbers, but said that opening weekend digital sales for the sequel rose 40 percent over the first film in the series. The picture also sold an estimated 3.9 million DVD and Blu-ray units in the United States in its first weekend of release, a modest increase over the 3.8 million “The Hunger Games” sold when it hit store shelves in 2012.

Benjamin Mogil, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said the results were a “very positive start” and estimated that the film would sell 9.4 million DVD and Blu-ray units.

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“We note that the average price point and margin was likely higher than that of ‘Hunger Games,’ as 50% of sales were in Blu-ray as compared to 35% for the prior film,” Mogil wrote in a note. “Margins were likely higher as well due to the higher share form digital sales.”

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” debuted in first place on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Comcast Xfinity and all major digital platforms, Lionsgate said.

“This is a monster opening and a tremendous result for the second film in a franchise, underscoring the enormous momentum of ‘The Hunger Games’ films,” Ron Schwartz, Lionsgate president and general manager of home entertainment sales & distribution, said in a statement.

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The strong home entertainment debut comes as sales for physical discs continue to slide from their peak popularity in the mid-aughts. It’s a testament to the strength of a franchise that has become global in scope. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” amassed $863.9 million at the worldwide box office, while the first film in the series earned $691.2 million.

The next two films, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 & 2,” will be released on November 21, 2014 and November 20, 2015, respectively.