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Lions Gate stock down on 'Catching Fire' US miss

The Associated Press

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. shares plunged Monday after U.S. box office sales from on the latest "Hunger Games" film came in somewhat lower than some investors had hoped.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" opened with $161.1 million at the domestic weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. That makes it the biggest November debut ever, as well as the studio's most lucrative opening.

But it still fell short of some expectations and failed to dethrone the year's biggest box-office opening, "Iron Man 3", which came in at $174 million.

B. Riley & Co. analyst David Miller said that the figure came in at the low end of the $160 million to $170 million that he had forecast. But the company is already one-third of the way toward his ultimate global box office goal of $900 million, and he suggested buying on any weakness in the stock.

"Catching Fire" took in $307.7 million worldwide.

The film opened in both domestic and international markets this past weekend, unlike the first "Hunger Games" film, which was opened in each market in a staggered fashion, he said. As a result, investors are having difficulty comparing the performance of the two.

Lions Gate shares fell $3.39, or 10 percent, to $30.37 in late afternoon trading. The stock price had more than doubled this year.