'Catching Fire' opens with $161.1M

JAKE COYLE
November 24, 2013
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This image released by Lionsgate shows Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, from left, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." The movie opens in theaters Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, in what's expected to be one of the year's biggest box-office debuts. (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)

NEW YORK (AP) — The "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire" opened with $161.1 million at the box office, narrowly besting the original film and setting a record for a November opening.

The result, from studio estimates Sunday, fell short of some expectations, and failed to dethrone the year's biggest box-office opening of $174 million for "Iron Man 3." But it did best the previous top November opening of $142.9 million by "Twilight Saga: New Moon."

But the bigger budget and better reviewed "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is doing far better abroad than the 2012 original. It opened with $146.6 million internationally.

The domestic total included Thursday night screenings that made approximately $25 million. The film's three-day weekend total of $136.1 million was actually less than "The Hunger Games."