Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been, well, on fire. The second of 4 films, based on the book series from Suzanne Collins, burst onto the scene in November and has scorched the competition. In fact, something very important just happened. Not only has Catching Fire just become the highest-grossing release of 2013 – made a staggering $409.4 million surpassing Iron Man 3, which earned $409 million through tickets sales – it’s the first female-led film to come out on top since The Exorcist in 1973. That is a huge deal. Particularly for Jennifer Lawrence. Think about the greatest actresses in the last 40 years, none of them were able to do this until now.
Films with female leads make up a very small percentage of mainstream films so one topping the US Box Office is quite significant. Especially since the reason Hollywood execs give to justify limited female representation is that conventional wisdom says films with female leads don’t make money. Well the hell with conventional wisdom, huh? Even if you think it’s a fluke, Catching Fire isn’t alone. Disney’s Frozen was the year’s fourth biggest film, followed by the Sandra Bullock starred Gravity at #7.
So, yeah, girl power and kudos to Jennifer Lawrence.
Looking ahead in 2014, Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is likely to repeat if not beat Catching Fires numbers. Angelina Jolie‘s Maleficent has huge potential, and so doesn’t Shailene Woodley’s Divergent, which is another acclaimed book series with an established fan base.
It makes you wonder if we’re on the cusp of a new dawn in cinema, where we’ll see an influx of properties based around a female character. I would say have at it – we could do with more ladies leading they way. It’s not without concern though.
Well I certainly want Hollywood to change there ways and start putting more faith in films with female leads, I hope executives don’t think that just because the lead is a woman doesn’t make it the “in” thing, or will it automatically make it a movie people want to see. It’s really not about women per-say, it’s a matter of good story telling that happen to involve women. Let the story tellers tell their stories and the talent show their talent. Of course, I’m not an executive, it’s not my money, but still.