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LONDON — Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth lit up the red carpet ahead of the world premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire held in the British capital’s Odeon Leicester Square on Monday.
Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and director Francis Lawrence also strolled the rain-soaked carpet outside the theater.
But the cold November British weather failed to dampen the spirits of the frenzied crowd gathered outside to catch a glimpse of Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta (Hutcherson) fighting their way through the crowds.
Two of the famous West End square’s movie theaters played host to the premiere to accommodate the sheer volume of attendees looking to grab a ringside seat for what is one of this year’s most anticipated releases.
British-born Claflin garnered a huge roar from the crowd and thanked everyone for waiting patiently in the rain. He joked that apart from breaking a finger and nearly being blinded, “making the film was easy.”
Co-star Hutcherson, acknowledging that a press tour for a major film can be brutal, said that feeding off the crowds re-energizes him and his fellow castmembers.
He also confessed to being an on-set prankster after being pressed by red-carpet emcee Edith Bowman.
Hundreds of fans had been waiting in line in Leicester Square, with many traveling from across Europe hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars as the film embarks on an European tour to Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome before a scheduled Los Angeles red-carpet gala on Nov. 18.
Based on Suzanne Collins‘ popular YA book, Catching Fire follows Katniss (Lawrence) as she and Peeta (Hutcherson) are forced to return to the deadly Games while dealing with increased unrest in the Districts.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is scheduled to open in U.K. cinemas on Nov. 21 before hitting U.S. screens Nov. 22.
Afterward, Lionsgate whisked off an invite-only crowd to a lavish afterparty at the globally recognizable Royal Courts of Justice, a building that would not be out of place in the totalitarian Capitol of the film and Collins’ books.
The first Hunger Games film, which opened in theaters on March 23, 2012, grossed $152.5 million on opening weekend, making it the third-largest opening of any movie in North America at the time. It went on to gross $690 million worldwide.
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