22 November 2013 8:37 AM, PST | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" has opened to early previews and pulled in a whopping $25.3 million in North American Thursday night grosses.

That's a 28% increase on the $19.7 million first night grosses of the first "The Hunger Games" last year. The first film managed a $152.5 million opening weekend, with 'Catching Fire' expected to surpass that and Iron Man 3's $174.1 million debut to be this year's biggest opener.

Having opened yesterday in numerous markets, the film has already made an estimated $32 million overseas and is currently proceeding at a pace of more than double that of the first film in numerous global territories.

Review scores have also been consistently higher for the sequel, with a 75/100 on Metacritic and a 89% (7.5/10) on Rotten Tomaotes, compared with a 67/100 on Mc and an 84% (7.2/10) on Rt for the first film. »

- Garth Franklin

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