Francis Lawrence's dystopian adventure drama The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, opened in Brazil on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, the week before it debuts in North America and most other international markets. Why Brazil? Friday was a national holiday (“Proclamation of the Republic”) in that particular market – a highly profitable holiday, apparently, as can be attested by The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2's record-breaking figures last year. (More on that below. And see also: “'Catching Fire' Movie Box Office: 1M Tickets But BREAKING DAWN 2 Record Safe in Brazil.”)
Results for the second installment in the Hunger Games' four-movie trilogy (hey, that's Hollywood) have been encouraging. Catching Fire grossed an estimated $2.4 million on Friday, a remarkable figure for the Brazilian market. Having said that, comparisons to Gary Ross' The Hunger Games' opening day are hardly fair. True, Catching Fire grossed (an estimated) three times as much as The Hunger Games, but a) the first movie opened on a non-holiday Friday in March 2012 b) currency fluctuations can radically alter a movie's box office take in U.S. dollars.
Unlike in the United States, where movie studios and distributors herald (inflation-, 3D-, and IMAX-enhanced) box office figures – so a new record can be broken every other weekend – in countries such as Brazil, distributors issue head counts, i.e., tickets sold. Catching Fire will undoubtedly outperform The Hunger Games in Brazil, but we'll only know for sure how much more successful it will be in relation to its predecessor once ticket sales figures are made available (likely on Sunday or early next week). For the record, The Hunger Games sold 481,000 tickets on its first weekend out in Brazil.
'The Hunger Games' 2012: Minor hit in Brazil
According Box Office Mojo, The Hunger Games grossed a relatively modest $10.15 million in Brazil – no. 26 on that country's 2012 box office chart. For comparisons sake: Last year's no. 1 movie at the Brazilian box office grossed $63.9 million (10.96 million tickets) – that's Joss Whedon's The Avengers, starring Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, et al. At no. 2, the final Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart pairing, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, collected $54.24 million (10.28 million tickets), followed by the animated Ice Age: Continental Drift, with $44.5 million (8.66 million tickets).
And here's another bit of data: Breaking Dawn Part 2 holds the record for the biggest single-day opening ever in Brazil: an estimated 980,000 tickets sold on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.
Note: Summit Entertainment / Lionsgate Pictures are the North American distributors of the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises. In Brazil, the local distributor for both franchises is Paris Filmes.
'Catching Fire' movie cast
Besides Best Actress Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire features Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman), Best Actor Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Willow Shields, Amanda Plummer, Lynn Cohen, Alan Ritchson, Toby Jones, and Lenny Kravitz.
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson Catching Fire photo: Lionsgate Pictures.