Hunger Games sequel has record UK opening

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence plays Hunger Games winner Katniss Everdeen in the films

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The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire topped the UK box office with takings of £12 million in its opening weekend.

The second instalment of the franchise, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, has given film company Lionsgate its biggest UK opening.

The figure is more than double the £4.9m the first Hunger Games film made when it opened in the UK in March 2012.

Based on the best-selling teen books by Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire also debuted at number one in the US.

It took $158m (£97.7m), making it the second biggest US opening of the year, behind Iron Man 3's $174m (£107m).

Doctor Who

The film's UK box office takings were several times that of closest rival Gravity, which was in second place over the weekend with £2.4m, according to figures from Rentrak.

The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who came third with £1.8m, after special 3D screenings of The Day of the Doctor took place at 440 UK cinemas as it was simulcast around the world on Saturday evening.

Catching Fire opened on Thursday 21 November, with midnight screenings at 275 UK cinemas making a promising start with takings of £300,000.

Lionsgate said it was "thrilled" with both the figures and the audience's response to Catching Fire.

The film begins as Katniss returns home after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games, ready to embark on a Victor's Tour of Panem's districts.

"Katniss and the world of Panem has struck a chord with UK audiences and critics alike with results to substantiate that," said Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa.

"We are looking forward to seeing where Mockingjay will take us next," he added, referring to the next book in the series which is being made into two films.

The first Hunger Games film took a total of £24m in the UK, and nearly $700m (£433m) worldwide.

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