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.

The Hunger Games sequel begins shooting in Georgia

The Hunger Games sequel begins shooting in Georgia

The 75th annual Hunger Games are on! Lionsgate announced Monday that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has officially started production in and around Atlanta, Ga., with director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) at the helm, before moving to shoot in Hawaii.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are, of course, reprising their respective roles as winning tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark; Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland are all also returning, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, and Amanda Plummer joining the franchise. Shooting is set to conclude in December.

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

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

The Last Song Fun Facts

The Last Song Fun Facts

Which Came First? “The Last Song” marks the first time Nicholas Sparks has written a screenplay before he completed the novel. The book, which is Sparks’ longest novel ever, debuted as #1 on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

What’s in a Name? Since Sparks was writing the screenplay with Miley Cyrus in mind, he allowed her to choose the name “Ronnie” for her character.

The Boy From Oz All-American boy Will Blakelee is played by an Aussie heartthrob. Liam Hemsworth is already well known in his native Australia as the star of the television series “The Elephant Princess” and “Neighbors,” as well as part of a trio of acting siblings that includes his older brothers Chris and Luke.

A Fine Kettle of Fish The aquarium scene between Ronnie and Will was filmed at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, which houses more aquatic creatures than any other aquarium in the world in tanks containing 8 million gallons of water. Liam Hemsworth was certified in scuba diving especially for the shoot and that really is him – and Miley – in the shark tank.

Back to School Liam Hemsworth’s scuba lessons weren’t the only learning experiences on this film. Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear, who both play gifted concert pianists, had never tickled the ivories before. Bobby Coleman and Greg Kinnear studied the art of stain glass window making with a local expert for their “father and son” project, and a former Olympic volleyball player was brought in to coach the actors for their beach scenes.

The Last Song Fun Facts

No Augtographs, Please The crucial scene in which newly-hatched loggerhead turtles make their way into the ocean was originally slated to be done with CGI, but at the last minute, the filmmakers decided to use live turtles. The 24 hatchlings that made their film debut in “The Last Song” arrived on set courtesy of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and were allowed to make their way out to sea. The two-inch long hatchlings will eventually reach three feet in length and weight up to 300 pounds.

“When I Look at You” The song that became central to this story was already scheduled to be released when the filmmakers realized it had all the heartfelt emotion they were looking for. “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman directed the music video for the song.

Child Star Twelve-year-old Bobby Coleman started acting when he was only five, appearing opposite Oscar nominee Diane Lane in “Must Love Dogs.” In his young career he’s worked with a who’s who of Hollywood luminaries, including Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Jennifer Anniston, Ray Liotta, Michael Keaton, Catherine Keener, Minnie Driver, Joan Cusack and John Cusack.

Is That Who I Think It Is? Miley Cyrus surprised the patrons of the Tybee Island restaurant Stingray’s by dropping by from time to time to serenade them to the accompaniment of her own acoustic guitar.

Home Sweet Home “The Last Song” is set in Nicholas Sparks’ home state of North Carolina, but for the shoot, Tybee Island, near Savannah, Georgia stands in. Tybee means “salt” in the language of the indigenous Euchee people, and there is a large salt marsh on the western side of the island. Two centuries ago, Tybee was a popular hideout for pirates on the run. Today, it is a thriving resort with a picturesque lighthouse that was the tallest structure in America when it was built in 1732.

A House to Remember The filmmakers were able to secure a colonial estate built by one of the first English settlers in Georgia to use as the Blakelee mansion.

How Hot Was It? During some of the volleyball scenes, the sand was so hot, the players had to tape protective coverings to the bottoms of their feet.

The Ultimate Souvenir Greg Kinnear was so impressed by the beauty and workmanship of the stained glass window made for the film, he commissioned one for his own home from the same craftsman.

Old Friends “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman directed the 2002 film “A Walk to Remember,” based on the Nicholas Sparks bestseller and starring Shane West and Mandy Moore.

Famly Fun Kelly Preston is a friend of the Cyrus family and she joined the cast when Miley Cyrus personally asked her to play Ronnie’s mother. Her daughter Ella was thrilled Kelly agreed to appear in the film, because she’s an avid fan of Cyrus.

Alma Mater More than 25 years ago, Nicholas Sparks and his “The Last Song” co-writer Jeff van Wie were college roommates at the University of Notre Dame where they both were on the track team. They’ve remained friends since then, but van Wie had no idea that Sparks was a successful novelist until spying a fellow traveler at the airport reading one of his old friend’s books.

Related Link: The Last Song Movie Full Production Notes