Jennifer Lawrence is the queen of Hollywood. As Lionsgate announced on Friday, Lawrence's blockbuster "Hunger Games" film, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," is now the number one release of 2013 in North America, with $409.4 million in ticket sales through Jan. 9. That put "Catching Fire" above "Iron Man 3," which earned $409 million after its release in May of 2013.
"The 'Hunger Game's franchise continues to evolve into a truly global phenomenon," Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. "The success of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' is a testament to the vision of author Suzanne Collins, the sure hand of director Francis Lawrence, the brilliant performances of a remarkably talented cast led by the amazing Jennifer Lawrence and superb execution by our motion picture production, marketing and distribution teams. 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."
In 2012, "The Hunger Games," the first film in the franchise, grossed $408 million, good for third place on that year's box-office chart.
"Catching Fire" winning 2013 is a significant achievement, as writer Mark Harris pointed out on Twitter. The film is the first female-led feature to top a year since "The Exorcist" in 1970. As BuzzFeed noted, other films with lead female roles have won the box office since then (including "Titanic," two "Harry Potter" films and "Avatar"), but all of those movies had major male co-stars. Lawrence is out in front of "The Hunger Games" as Katniss Everdeen, with Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth acting as supporting players.