It always looked to be one of the most anticipated films of the year, and so it has proved. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opened in the UK with a mighty £12.19m, including Wednesday midnight and Thursday takings of £2.07m. That compares with £4.90m (including £431,000 in Thursday midnight previews) for the original Hunger Games. Comparing like-for-like Friday to Sunday figures, Catching Fire is 126% up on The Hunger Games, rising from £4.47m to £10.12m.
Including previews, the biggest openings of 2013 are Despicable Me 2 with £14.82m and Iron Man 3 (£13.71m); Catching Fire takes third place. Going strictly by Friday to Sunday takings, the biggest openings of the year are Iron Man 3 (£11.39m) and Man of Steel (£11.20m); Catching Fire again takes third place.
The original Hunger Games went on to achieve a huge multiple of its opening number, maxing out at £23.8m. The massive anticipation for the sequel means that the box office will almost certainly prove more front-loaded, and it would be a big surprise to see the final Catching Fire number achieve a similar multiple of just over five times its three-day opening figure.
It is worth remembering that the original Twilight film was relatively modest in the UK, with a lifetime of £11.2m, surging to £27.5m for second instalment New Moon. In the intervening year, many more film fans caught up with the Twilight novels and saw the original film on DVD, building anticipation for the sequel. With The Hunger Games, the first film started from a much higher base, meaning any sequel would have less far to rise, but a 50% increase would take Catching Fire to about £36m.Read More