22 November 2013 4:43 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is burning up the box office — though early returns show “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” probably won’t match the original’s opening this weekend.

Based on Friday matinee sales, industry observers estimated the U.S. launch frame would finish between $135 million to $150 million.

That’s a monstrous total that could place the Lionsgate tentpole in the top 10 domestic openings of all time, but it would trail the opening weekend of “The Hunger Games,” which is sixth on the top 10 list with $152.2 million in March 2012. The first “Games” carried the advantages of opening amid the massive popularity of the Suzanne Collins book trilogy and when many of its target teen and young adult moviegoers were on spring break.

Execs speculated that “Catching Fire,” playing at 4,163 locations, will do a higher percentage of its business during night-time showings than “Hunger Games” on its first weekend.

Early »

- Dave McNary

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