The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has set the U.S. box office alight after debuting with a record-breaking $161.1 million (£107.4 million).

The movie sequel, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, claimed the fourth highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, behind Marvel's The Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

The film, based on the books by Suzanne Collins, also became the biggest new release in November, easily overtaking the previous record of $142 million (£94.7 million) earned by The Twilight Saga: New Moon upon its launch in 2009, while it proved to be more popular than the original The Hunger Games, which opened with $152.5 million (£101.7 million) last year (12).

Catching Fire blazed its way to the top of the global box office too, hauling in $307.7 million (£205.1 million) outside of North America.

Meanwhile, Thor: The Dark World settled for second place on the U.S. chart with $14.1 million (£9.4 million) in takings, and romantic comedy The Best Man Holiday drew $12.5 million (£8.3 million).

New Vince Vaughn comedy Delivery Man limped in at number four, while animated film Free Birds rounded out the new top five.