Iron Man 3 had the year’s biggest opening weekend and dominated the summer box office, but when the dust eventually settles on 2013, Catching Fire will go down as the year’s biggest smash. The second film in the Hunger Games franchise, based on Suzanne Collins’ book trilogy, inched past Marvel’s superhero movie on Jan. 9 and now holds the top spot with $409.4 million.
Combined with the original Hunger Games, which grossed $408.0 million in 2012, the Lionsgate films became the first franchise whose initial two installments each topped the $400 million barrier. In addition, Catching Fire has pulled in another $428.8 million internationally, a dramatic upgrade over the Hunger Game‘s foreign haul of $283.2 million.
“The Hunger Games franchise continues to evolve into a truly global phenomenon,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “We will continue to grow the transformative Hunger Games franchise in the years to come even as we continue to develop a dynamic portfolio of premium new brands.”
Though the Hunger Games is a franchise with a built-in audience of millions who read Collins’ books, the accomplishment is another feather in the cap of Jennifer Lawrence, last year’s Oscar winner and a contender again this year for American Hustle. She is the first female to be the center of the year’s top movie since Kate Winslet in Titanic.
Collins’ third book, Mockingjay, will be split into two films, set for release in Novembers 2014 and 2015. Some have second-guessed that move creatively, but Catching Fire‘s success validates it as a shrewd billion-dollar decision.
Top 10 Movies, 2013
1. Catching Fire* ($409.4 million)
2. Iron Man 3 (&409.0)
3. Despicable Me 2* ($368.0)
4. Frozen* ($301.5)
5. Man of Steel ($291.1)
6. Monsters University ($268.5)
7. Gravity* ($255.8)
8. Fast & Furious 6 ($238.7)
9. Oz: The Great and Powerful ($234.9)
10. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug* ($234.2)
(Courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo)
*Still playing in theaters