When Iron Man 3 had an incredible $174.1 million opening weekend at the U.S. box office this summer, most likely believed that no other movie in 2013 would be able to top it. After all, Iron Man 3 benefited from following The Avengers, and $174.1 million is the second highest opening weekend at the U.S. box office in history, behind only The Avengers.
However, Hunger Games: Catching Fire has a very good chance at topping Iron Man 3 this weekend and stealing the title for 2013's highest opening weekend. While Iron Man 3 opened to somewhat mixed reviews from critics, Hunger Games: Catching Fire appears to one of those rare action movie sequels that critics are actually embracing.
Even though it's dropped a little bit over the past day, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has a strong 90% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some critics are even labeling The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as the Empire Strikes Back of Hunger Games movies. The strong word of mouth should help give The Hunger Games: Catching Fire a boost over the $150 million to $165 million that experts were projecting before the reviews even started hitting.
Yes, a $175 million opening weekend in the U.S. is not only within reach for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but at this point, it seems likely the film will exceed that number. By the end of the weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire could very well have the second highest grossing opening weekend of all time at the U.S. box office. We think The Avengers $207.4 million record is probably pretty safe, but you never know.