Latest Hunger Games Installment Catches Fire With Moviegoers

Willow Shields and Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to the first movie in the series that opened in March 2012, swept through theaters this weekend with an estimated $161.1 million gross. Catching fire, indeed.

Fans of the Girl on Fire helped make the movie the best November opening of all time, ahead of another “genre” movie with a female protagonist, the Twilight series’ New Moon, which scored $142.9 million in the box office during its debut in 2009. It also currently holds fourth place for the top movie debuts of all time, behind The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million).

According to the numbers, the only movie to beat Catching Fire – the latest installment of Suzanne Collins’ novels about a world where a deadly competition pits children against children for the entertainment of the people of the fictional city of Panem – in 2013 was Iron Man 3. But if you take into account the Marvelfilm’s high number of 3D ticket sales, which certainly boosted ticket prices, the latest installment in Katniss Everdeen’s story looks even more impressive.

Also of note is the fact that this weekend’s release of Catching Fire is the biggest box office opening for a movie featuring a woman as the main character…ever! In addition, the gap between the percentage of men vs. women seeing the film shrunk slightly in comparison to the demographic make-up of the first Hunger Games film; with the first film, 39% of the audience was male, but with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 41% of those in attendance opening weekend were male.

Remember all that talk about how movies that star women don’t make money? Looks like it’s time to re-think that and give Katniss the respect she deserves.