This is a very bold statement of intent from the distributor, Lionsgate, and further cements this much-anticipated sequel as a Christmas event movie. This is a superb opportunity to capitalise on the unexpected success of the first film, but more importantly, it is vital that they retain the core demographic quickly, which will all but ensure a huge opening weekend in the US.
Matching it’s predecessor’s massive $152.5 million three-day opening will be tough, but achievable, but the real question is longevity and whether it can sustain its audience beyond the opening weekend. A major reason why The Hunger Games was so successful in the US, aside from its core book fan-base, was for the simple fact that it was different. It offered its young target demographic an alternative to Twilight and superheroes, which in turn, allowed for an extremely healthy run at the box-office towards a $408 million domestic gross.
To assume that Catching Fire will match this tally (let alone exceed it) is a long shot at best, it is entirely dependent on positive word-of mouth and a strong second weekend. It will exhaust the majority of its loyal fan-base within the first week, but the movie’s ability to once again appeal to a wider audience will ultimately decide its own fate.
The Twilight movies fell victim to this as their opening seven-day tallies generally accounted for more than half of their final gross, however, excluding the first film, these final grosses were always consistently near $300 million. The Hunger Games has captured, and already exceeded those audience numbers, but now the prime objective shifts towards consistency.
Catching Fire’s biggest potential downfall will be its overseas performance. The final tally of its predecessor was considerably under-whelming compared to The Twilight Saga, and strong international numbers will offset any steeper than expected domestic fall-offs. However, if this doesn’t happen, the sequel will struggle to match the worldwide tally of the first instalment.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is based on the novel written by Suzanne Collins and is part of The Hunger Games trilogy. The film is directed by Gary Ross, and it stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson.