Box Office: 'Catching Fire' Sets Lionsgate U.K. Opening Weekend Record

3:45 AM PST 11/25/2013 by Stuart Kemp

The release of the "Hunger Games" sequel with Jennifer Lawrence brought in just shy of $20 million in Britain during its first weekend and early midnight screenings.

LONDON -- British audiences' appetite for Jennifer Lawrence starrer The Hunger Games: Catching Fire proved insatiable, with the movie taking in a total of more than $19.5 million (£12 million) for distributor Lionsgate over the course of its opening weekend.

That was an opening weekend record for Lionsgate in Britain. The performance of the release was bolstered by midnight screenings on Wednesday that garnered $487,000 (£300,000) at 275 cinemas.

While being a U.K. record-breaker for Lionsgate, the sequel of the franchise still came in a long way behind the two biggest opening weekend performances in the U.K. ever.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 conjured $37.2 million (£23 million) for Warner Bros. during its first three days, while Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall drew $32.5 million (£20.1 million).

The U.K. opening weekend box office total for the second installment of the Hunger Games franchise based on Suzanne Collins' YA novels marks a 250 percent increase over the first outing's opening weekend here of $7.4 million (£4.5 million) in March 2012.

The Hunger Games went on to hunt down $39 million (£24 million) in the U.K. and grossed nearly $700 million at the box office worldwide.

The sequel begins with Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) returning home after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow survivor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).  

Winning means that they must turn around and leave their families and close friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour." Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is still very much in control and prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games.

Lionsgate U.K. CEO Zygi Kamasa said: "Katniss and the world of Panem [have] struck a chord with U.K. audiences and critics alike with results to substantiate that. We are looking forward to seeing where [the next film] Mockingjay will take us next."

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is produced by Nina Jacobson's Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik.

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