By Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang | Women and Hollywood January 6, 2014 at 11:54AM
All hail Katniss, Anna, and Elsa.
The heroines of Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen, introduced to us all the way back in November, have started off the new year still kicking box-office ass.
Variety predicts that Catching Fire, which has thus far grossed $407.5 million domestically, will soon -- like, this week -- overtake Iron Man 3 as 2013's top-earning movie. Think about this. The #1 movie of the year will have a female protagonist. This has never happened before. The only year that even comes close is 1997 with Titanic and that had two leading characters. So this is a milestone. Tony Stark's third run as Iron Man maxed out at $409 million domestically, so America's most popular character last year was a girl who tells her would-be boyfriend that she's too busy trying to stay alive to get romantically involved.
Another film about romance-averse heroines recently overtook Superman to grab the title of 2013's fourth highest-grossing movie. Positive word of mouth is probably the reason behind Frozen's resurgence in theaters (and the hysterical versions of Let It Go that have spawned all over You Tube.) As the nontraditional Disney-princess movie entered its sixth week in wide release, it earned the top place for the weekend at the box-office throne with $20.7 million for a domestic total of $298 million. That means a woman director, Jennifer Lee, wrote and co-directed 2013's fourth-highest earner.
So Jennifer Lawrence headlined 2013's likely #1 movie, and a first-time woman director helmed a Top 5 performer. The record-breaking numbers for Catching Fire and Frozen demonstrates that female audiences are demanding plot-driving female characters and that male viewers are definitely interested in stories about girls.
So what's Hollywood's excuse now?