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Hunger Games: Catching Fire Will Be Top Grossing Movie of 2013, Frozen Surges to #4

by Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang
January 6, 2014 11:54 AM
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frozen elsa

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? 

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  • Dan | January 18, 2014 12:45 AMReply

    Fun fact. Frozen has over $700 million world-wide now as of January 16.

  • Kim | January 6, 2014 4:18 PMReply

    If this had been released earlier, it could have been the top grossing film of 2013 but for year-end statistics, Ironman 3 was the top grossing film

  • Sam | January 6, 2014 2:13 PMReply

    Why can't we all just enjoy these movies instead of making this another feminist issue? I enjoyed Catching Fire immensely and thought Frozen was by far the best film of the year but that doesn't mean that the female leads were the primary catalysts for me to go see them.

  • Jon | January 11, 2014 10:19 AM

    @JAY and why should any man be "Pro-Feminist" why don't Feminist SHUT UP and stop making it an "Us vs Them".

  • jay | January 7, 2014 3:00 PM

    ^ Sam, we all know you are anti-feminist, but for god's sake SHUT UP. The fact that Catching Fire is the highest grossing film of the year is extremely significant and historic. The article never said that the female leads were the primary catalysts for people to see the film, but it does prove a point which Hollywood has denied for decades: that female characters are NOT box office poison. The box office results also indicate that there is a steady change in the thinking of Hollywood. Women are audiences too, and being half the population, they deserve half the protagonists to represent their sex. This in itself is worth bringing up in an article. In my opinion there should be more articles like this.

    But people like you can just continue sweeping the important issues under the rug if you so desire.

  • Chris | January 6, 2014 1:25 PMReply

    The top grossing movie for 1933 was I'M NO ANGEL (the Mae West flick) so technically a female led film did top that year. Also MARY POPPINS (1964) FUNNY GIRL(1968), SHANGHAI EXPRESS (starring Marlene Dietrich in 1932) and HAWAII (1966) were the top grossers. I think the point is it's been far too long one way or another.

  • Jeff | January 6, 2014 1:02 PMReply

    "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."

    Not to undercut its significance, but a very small amount of research reveals QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933), GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), MRS. MINIVER (1942), THE RED SHOES (1948), CINDERELLA (1950), CLEOPATRA (1963), and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) were all the highest grossing movies of their respective years.

  • Lemony S | January 7, 2014 3:03 PM

    This doesn't really make the situation any better. Women are still under-represented in the film industry. Sure, top films have had female protagonists (you missed one "Wizard of Oz"!) and things definitely need to change. Hopefully Catching Fire is the spark that ignites a revolution.

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