1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate) Lionsgate International $161.1m (NE)
2. Thor: The Dark World (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $14.1m ($167.8m) (1)
3. The Best Man Holiday (Universal) UPI $12.5m ($50.4m) (2)
4. Delivery Man (Buena Vista-DreamWorks) WDSMPI $8.2m (NE)
5. Free Birds (Relativity Media) Relativity International $5.3m ($48.6m) (4)
Hunger Games: Catching Fire debuted on $161m at the North American weekend box office in line with more conservative market forecasts. It follows a turbulent few days with Thursday night late shows indicating that the action sequel could challenge the $174m highest weekend launch of the year from Iron Man 3, only for a quiet Friday appearing to place the film in the same ballpark as the original’s $152.5m. And then, a powerful ‘A’ CinemaScore from first night audiences built on strong reviews and Fandango’s 92% pre-sales market share to lead a recovery and the film’s final tally easily went on to become the territory’s highest ever November opening. Without the premium boost that goes with 3D screenings, Catching Fire was always facing an uphill challenge in topping Iron Man 3′s total.
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth all return from the original and Francis Lawrence, best known for I Am Legend, takes over the directing duties from Gary Ross. Lionsgate is already preparing the next two films in the franchise.