The Hunger Games: Catching Fire breaks box office record

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and 3-D animated musical “Frozen” dished up box office records over the Thanksgiving holiday. Lionsgate’s sequel earned a prodigious $75 million in its second weekend, while Disney’s frosty fete opened with $67 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Both films bested the previous Thanksgiving record holder, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which earned $57.5 million in 2001 over a three-day period.

Snowballing its way to the top, “Frozen” became the biggest Thanksgiving opening ever and the largest opening for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“For a company whose foundation was built on animation, to have this as the biggest opening ever is a pretty extraordinary thing,” said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Walt Disney Studios, adding that the box office draw of “Frozen” exceeded studio expectations.

“We came into the weekend feeling like anything that would exceed the result from ‘Tangled’ from a couple years back would be great,” Hollis added. “Tangled” opened with $68.7 million in 2010. “We thought something in the $70-$80 million range is what might be possible with ‘Frozen.’ We are hoping it lends itself to a big, long payoff after this great start.”

The films topped records for the highest domestic box office grosses for the three-day and five-day holiday weekend. “Catching Fire” blazed the trail to No. 1 and “Frozen” slid in at No. 2.

“Catching Fire” earned the biggest-ever gross for a film from Wednesday to Sunday over the Thanksgiving holiday. It brought in $110.2 million, raising its domestic total to $297 million. “Frozen” scored $93 million over the five days, topping Disney’s previous five-day champ, “Toy Story 2,” which earned $80.1 million in 1999.

“All of these records being broken, it’s like a true snowball effect,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “Overall, this is the biggest Thanksgiving weekend for the industry ever. Last year was the Thanksgiving record holder, but this one-two punch with ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘Frozen’ was just amazing.”

Internationally, “Catching Fire” continued to bring the heat, earning a total of $276 million through Sunday. Opening No. 1 in France, Italy and Belgium, the sequel exceeded the opening weekend of “The Hunger Games” in all three markets. Overall, the sequel has grossed $573 million worldwide.

After dominating the box office during its first two weeks in theaters, Disney’s “Thor: The Dark World” dropped to No. 2 last weekend and was knocked down one more spot to No. 3 this weekend, earning $11.1 million. Globally, it continues to keep Disney on the map with a total of $591.1 million.

Maintaining a healthy position at the box office, Universal’s romantic comedy “The Best Man Holiday” held the fourth slot with $8.5 million, while thriller “Homefront,” starring Jason Statham and James Franco, opened in the No. 5 slot with $7 million.

Also debuting over the holiday, Fox Searchlight’s “Black Nativity” landed in the top 10 with $3.9 million, while the Weinstein Co.’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” starring Idris Elba, saw a solid launch, earning $100,306 despite playing in just four theaters.

Opening with $850,000, Spike Lee’s “Oldboy” failed to make an impressive impact at the box office.

Josh Hutcherson Joins Benicio Del Toro in Paradise Lost

Josh Hutcherson Joins Benicio Del Toro in Paradise Lost

Not to be confused with the stalled Paradise Lost, which was set to star Bradley Cooper as a fallen angel in the midst of a heavenly war, or the documentary of the same name focusing on the West Memphis 3, director Andrea Di Stefano’s Paradise Lost follows a young Irish surfer who falls in love with Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s niece.

Benicio Del Toro is attached to star as Pablo Escobar, with The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson signing onto play Nick, the water sports enthusiast who, while visiting his brother, falls head over heels for a young woman tied to Columbia’s biggest exporter of cocaine.

This biopic will mark the directorial debut of Andrea Di Stefano, who last wrote the screenplay for Life of Pi, and also adapted Eat, Pray, Love for the big screen. Paradise Lost begins production in March, in Panama. Paradise Lost comes to theaters in 2014 and stars Benicio Del Toro, Josh Hutcherson. The film is directed by Andrea Di Stefano.

The Hunger Games Theatrical Poster

The Hunger Games Theatrical Poster

The world will be watching

The Hunger Games is based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling futuristic young adult novel. A dystopic Capitol requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl who are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. When Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.

The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross and based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It is the first installment in The Hunger Games film series and was produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, with a screenplay by Ross, Collins, and Billy Ray. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 must take part in the Hunger Games, a televised annual event in which the “tributes” are required to fight to the death until there is only one survivor. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister’s place. Joined by her district’s male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson).

Related Link: The Hunger Games Movie Full Production Notes

Josh Hutcherson Career Milestones

Josh Hutcherson Career Milestones

Josh Hutcherson is fast becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young talents. He has completed production on Dan Bradley’s adventure thriller Red Dawn, a remake of the 1984 film of the same name; and on Lawrence Roeck’s art forgery drama Carmel.

Mr. Hutcherson starred opposite Brendan Fraser in the blockbuster Journey to the Center of the Earth, directed by Eric Brevig, and will reprise his role in an upcoming sequel. In the hit Bridge to Terabithia, directed by Gabor Csupo, he starred opposite AnnaSophia Robb; he was honored with two Young Artist Awards, for his performance and as part of the ensemble.

The Kentucky native’s other films include Barry Sonnenfeld’s RV, with Robin Williams; Rowan Woods’ Fragments (a.k.a. Winged Creatures), opposite Dakota Fanning; Jon Favreau’s Zathura: A Space Adventure, for which he won a Young Artist Award; Paul Weitz’ Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Todd Holland’s Firehouse Dog; Jesse Dylan’s Kicking & Screaming; and Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett’s Little Manhattan.

Additionally, Mr. Hutcherson performed in the groundbreaking motion-capture process for Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express; and voiced a lead character for the English-language re-recording of Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle.

The Hunger Games Theatrical Trailer

“The Hunger Games” is based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling futuristic young adult novel. A dystopic Capitol requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl who are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. When Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.

The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross and based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It is the first installment in The Hunger Games film series and was produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, with a screenplay by Ross, Collins, and Billy Ray.

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 must take part in the Hunger Games, a televised annual event in which the “tributes” are required to fight to the death until there is only one survivor. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister’s place. Joined by her district’s male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson).

The Hunger Games Theatrical Trailer

The Hunger Games

Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson
Screenplay by: Suzanne Collins, Gary Ross
Production Design by: Philip Messina
Cinematography by: Tom Stern
Film Editing by: Christopher S. Capp, Stephen Mirrione, Juliette Welfling
Costume Design by: Judianna Makovsky
Set Decoration by: Larry Dias
Art Direction by: John Collins, Robert Fechtman, Paul Richards
Music by: James Newton Howard
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images – all involving teens.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: March 23, 2012