The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, in theaters since November 22, remains on fire at the box office. Though crowded out of multiplexes by numerous new releases in the past three months, the second installment averaged a solid $1,333 for each of the 240 screens still showing the movie this weekend.
The $320,000 take for the three-day period now vaults The Hunger Games: Catching Fire into the all-time top 10 grossing movies at the United States domestic box office. Already the top-grossing film to be released in 2013, the weekend's ticket sales bring the total take for the second installment of the four-part Hunger Games film series to $423,628,000 — good enough for 10th on the all-time list of domestic box office moneymakers.
The film's star, 23-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, is now the A-lister's A-lister in Hollywood. Not only did she lead The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to becoming the first female-star-topped U.S. box office champ since 1973, she is coming off one Academy Award and is nominated for another this year, for her role in American Hustle.
To take its place in the all-time Top 10, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire edged out Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The Jennifer Lawrence vehicle also marks the first time that the first two entries in a franchise film series have each grossed more than $400 million.
Director James Cameron can take credit for both the Number One and Number Two top domestic box-office performers. His 2009 Avatar holds the top spot with $760.5 million collected from U.S. ticket buyers. Then his 1997 mega-hit Titanic follows at $658,672,302.
Marvel's The Avengers, the ensemble super-hero pic from the summer of 2012, sits in third place at $623, 397,910.
Of course, recent films always look better on the box office charts because ticket prices at U.S. movie theatres are at an all-time high. When the chart is adjusted for inflation, it takes on a whole different look.
On the adjusted chart, the 1939 Civil War epic Gone With The Wind has a firm grip on the top spot with — in today's dollars — a gross of $1.687 billion. The 1976 kickoff to the seemingly unkillable Star Wars franchise holds second place at just under $1.5 billion in 2014 money.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire still looks respectable on the inflation-adjusted chart, cracking the top 100 at Number 94, one notch behind the first Hunger Games film.