Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, toplining Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson, debuted in Brazil last Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. A national holiday ("Proclamation of the Republic"), November 15 has proven to be a highly profitable "opening date" in Brazil; in 2012, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 broke both single-day and opening-weekend records at the Brazilian box office. Now comes Catching Fire, which far surpassed the box office take of its predecessor.
Surely it's no coincidence that both the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises currently belong to the Summit Entertainment / Lionsgate Pictures combo. Or that both franchises have been/are being distributed in Brazil by Paris Filmes, possibly that country's biggest homegrown film distribution entity.
The second installment in the Hunger Games' four-movie trilogy (that's Hollywood for you), Catching Fire grossed an estimated $6.3 million from 962 screens in its first three days, a solid figure for the Brazilian market and about twice as much as the amount earned by Gary Ross' The Hunger Games on its debut weekend ($3.14 million at 636 locations). In all fairness, however, comparisons to the first movie are iffy. Not only was Catching Fire screening at about 50 percent more venues, but one must also take into account that The Hunger Games opened on a non-holiday Friday in March 2012. Having said that, The Hunger Games had one major advantage when it comes to box office grosses in U.S. dollars: a stronger Brazilian currency.
'Catching Fire' movie vs. 'The Hunger Games,' 'Breaking Dawn Part 2' and other blockbusters
But wait: Unlike in the United States, where Hollywood studios and distributors announce (inflation-, 3D-, and IMAX-enhanced) box office figures – so new records can be broken with increasing regularity – in Brazil distributors also release ticket sales figures. According to Paris Filmes, Catching Fire brought 1 million Brazilians to the movies on its first weekend out vs. The Hunger Games' 481,000 tickets sold during the same period. (See also: 'The Hunger Games' minor hit in Brazil.')
And here's another comparison: Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, the aforementioned Breaking Dawn Part 2 sold on one day – Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 – an estimated 980,000 to 1 million tickets at 2,103 locations. As mentioned above, Breaking Dawn Part 2 also holds the Brazilian record for the biggest opening weekend ever: 2.1 million tickets sold from Friday to Sunday in mid-November 2012; 3.1 million if Thursday, Nov. 15, is included.
Below are a few more opening weekend figures in Brazil:
- Shane Black's Iron Man 3, featuring Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ben Kingsley, sold 1.8 million tickets;
- Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, also starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, sold 1.72 million;
- Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco, sold 1.71 million;
- Joss Whedon's The Avengers, with Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., and Tom Hiddleston sold 1.68 million;
- David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes, sold 1.56 million;
- Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World, with Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Hiddleston, sold 1.2 million.
According to Box Office Mojo, The Hunger Games cumed at $691.24 million at the worldwide box office. In North America, Gary Ross' dystopian adventure drama grossed $408.01 million (59 percent) vs. $283.23 million (41 percent) internationally. Don't be too surprised if these percentages are reversed for Catching Fire, which some predict could reach close to $1 billion worldwide.
This week, Catching Fire opens in more than 60 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China, and much of Europe.
'Catching Fire' movie cast
Besides Best Actress Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right), and Liam Hemsworth (who, in a brief movie career, has already run the gamut from Miley Cyrus in The Last Song to Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables 2), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire features Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman), Best Actor Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), two-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Messenger), and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones).
Also: Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer, Lynn Cohen, Willow Shields, Alan Ritchson, Toby Jones, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Taylor St. Clair, Jack Quaid, Nelson Ascencio, Jeffrey Wright, and Lenny Kravitz.
Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Oblivion) received credit for the Catching Fire screenplay, based on Suzanne Collins' novel.
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie photo: Lionsgate Pictures.