It’s already clear from pundits we’ve talked to and early estimates that, barring a disaster, Lionsgate‘s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will do better during its opening weekend in North America than its predecessor, which opened to $152.5M in March 2012. And its international box office will be equally huge, with its Friday bow here launching a day-and-date blitz in 64 other territories including the UK, Germany and China.
But how much better is better? Matching the first pic’s three-day total already would make Catching Fire the top-grossing November opener of all time, according to Rentrak data; the current record holder is Summit’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which nabbed $142.8M in 2009 in a month that has been heavy in recent years with Harry Potter and James Bond pic openings. What about Catching Fire‘s prospects to become the biggest opening-day grosser of all time? That record belongs to Warner Bros’ franchise-ender Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II, which cumed $91.1M in July 2011. The original Hunger Games grossed $67.3M on its first Friday, so the sequel — despite its near-universal strong reviews — will have to get legs to catch that one. Of course, the big-daddy record is top opening weekend of all time, the mark set in May 2012 by Disney’s Marvel’s The Avengers, which grossed $207.4M on 4,349 screens, followed on the list by this year’s Iron Man 3 ($174.4M), Deathly Hallows Part II ($169.2M) and a pair of Chris Nolan’s Batman pics (The Dark Knight Rises with $160.9M and The Dark Knight with $158.4M). Deadline’s readers are as astute as any tracking service we’ve seen, so tell us: Does Catching Fire have the chops (and the strategy) to challenge the biggest of the big boys?