November 22, 2013 / 6:35 PM / 4 years ago

Ticket sales for 'Hunger Games' sequel top $25 mln on Thursday

LOS ANGELES, Nov 22 (Reuters) - The “Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire” pulled in $25.25 million in U.S. box office sales on Thursday night, 28 percent more than the first movie in the trilogy grossed on the same night when it was released in 2012.

The highly-anticipated Lions Gate Entertainment Corp film opens officially in the United States on Friday, but many theaters began showing the movie on Thursday.

The films, which star Jennifer Lawrence as the scrappy heroine Katniss Everdeen, are based on Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular novels about an oppressive post-apocalyptic society that stages teen death matches to maintain order among its citizens.

The original “Hunger Games” movie was a smash hit last year, collecting $691 million in ticket sales worldwide.

Online ticketing service Fandango said “Catching Fire” was its top ticket seller for the year, eclipsing “Iron Man 3.”

“The demand for tickets is intense, with sales showing no signs of flagging through the weekend,” a Fandango spokesman said in an email.

Overseas, “Catching Fire” has already grossed $32 million, Lions Gate said in a statement, adding that most markets opened with more than double the ticket sales of the first “Hunger Games” movie.

The first film collected just 41 percent of its total ticket sales outside the United States and Canada, according to the Box Office Mojo website, the third lowest foreign percentage among the top 100 films of all time.

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