Lionsgate: China ‘Catching Fire’ Ahead of the U.S.22 Oct, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Early foreign launches of ‘The Hunger Games’ sequel bodes well for home entertainment
Lionsgate Oct. 22 said The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to teen franchise The Hunger Games starring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, will bow Nov. 21 on 3,000 screens in China, following approval by the communist country’s film regulators.
The launch coincides with similar theatrical bows in 50 territories around the world, excluding the United States and 15 other countries. Catching Fire debuts domestically Nov. 22, and Nov. 27 through Dec. 27 in Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Greece, Cambodia, Portugal and Japan, respectively.
The Hunger Games, which generated more than $691 million at the global box office, was one of the top-selling domestic home entertainment releases in 2012, reportedly generating more than $93 million in revenue in the first 30 days following its packaged-media release last August.
"The release of the first Hunger Games film in China established a strong fan base on which Catching Fire is positioned to build," said Wendy Reeds, EVP of content sales and distribution for Celestial Tiger Entertainment — Lionsgate’s Asian partner. "China has become one of the world's leading box office territories, and the release of Catching Fire in China is another major step forward in our distribution of film and TV content in this key market."
Indeed, Lionsgate began streaming original series “Orange Is the New Black” on YouTube in China the day after its July 11 SVOD premiere on Netflix. The launch marked the earliest that a U.S. television show premiered on an international digital platform, according to the mid-major.
It generated more than 7 million views in China in its first three weeks, CEO Jon Feltheimer said during the company’s most-recent fiscal call.
Lionsgate recently scored at the Chinese box office with the successful theatrical releases of Now You See Me, The Impossible and the first Hunger Games film.