Isn’t pitting Delivery Man, a feel-good comedy starring Vince Vaughn, against Catching Fire, the second installment in the Hunger Games series, a bit like forcing little kids to fight teenagers in a televised deathmatch? Those were the only two new, wide-release films to enter the box-office arena this weekend, with predictable results: Catching Fire smashed November records, while Delivery Man slumped into fourth place with a paltry $8.2 million. Were the latter a tribute from the 12 districts, it’d be the one that gets macheted in the face while reaching for a weapon in the first 10 seconds of the games. Are you not entertained, America?!
But enough about the loser, more about the winner: Catching Fire went all Katniss on the competition, bringing in $161 million. That’s more than the debut of the first film ($152) or any of the November-released Twilight sequels. As far as all-time openings go, it ranks below only The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and the final Harry Potter film, all of which had the advantage of 3-D ticket inflation. And it’s only a hair less than what Thor: The Dark World has managed over three full weeks of release. Two conclusions can be drawn from these figures: One, that November is like a second summer movie season, when studios can now pit mega-budget franchise films against each other; and two, that by 2017, every major studio release will be a YA or comic-book adaptation. But who will win in the epic, Thanksgiving ’17 battle between Divergent: Allegiant Part One and Namor: The Thirteenth Avenger?
On a single screen in Hollywood, Frozen pulled in $238,000, ahead of its wide release in a couple of days. That’s several times more than Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? made on 33 screens—proof, it would seem, that Disney animated films are much more popular than Michel Gondry documentaries about Noam Chomsky. But can Frozen put the freeze on Catching Fire? Gut feeling at the A.V. Club offices is that Katniss stays on top for another three weeks, at which point a different archer—uncomfortably inserted where he doesn’t belong—swings back into action.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.