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As part of the pact, the Disney-owned cable network also will get the network premiere rights to Catching Fire, the second film in the Hunger Games franchise, set to hit theaters Nov. 22, 2013. The films will begin airing in 2014, joining a collection of movies including the Harry Potter franchise and upcoming series Bunheads, Baby Daddy and Beverly Hills Nannies on the Millennial-focused network’s schedule.
“This tremendous opening weekend reinforces what we have already learned: A powerful heroine, themes of romance and iconic characters will keenly resonate with our Millennial audience,” says ABC Family president Michael Riley. “This franchise will continue to enhance our network for years to come.”
Adds Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide television and digital distribution: “With its exciting programming lineup and the ongoing expansion and diversification of its core demo, we believe that ABC Family is the perfect home for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and we expect these first two installments of our franchise to resonate with audiences for many years.”
The hotly anticipated Hunger Games — adapted from Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of young-adult books, of which there are 26 million copies in print — generated the third-biggest opening weekend at the domestic box office behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight. With Gary Ross at the helm, the Nina Jacobson-produced movie set in a dystopian future stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Hemsworth.
Hunger Games is projected to place No. 1 in virtually every foreign market, though it performed best in English-speaking territories, particularly Australia, where it bowed to $6.7 million. In the U.K., where unseasonably warm weather could have kept consumers from theaters, Hunger Games pulled down $7.5 million at the box office.
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