The second film in the four-part cycle opened with $161.1 million domestically and another $146.6 million internationally this weekend — and given that it ends on a cliffhanger one may assume Mockingjay: Part One will do very nicely for itself as well.
After the success of all five Twilight movies, it’s obvious that quality has nothing to do with a movie’s financial performance, but I will say that Catching Fire marks a modest improvement on the first Hunger Games movie. Francis Lawrence is just better suited to action than Gary Ross was; Ross didn’t have the feel for pacing or tension that Lawrence brings to Catching Fire, which has almost exactly the same structure and plot as its predecessor.
I’m still not a fan of the story, which takes the premise of Battle Royale and staples on a generic dystopian rebellion backstory, but this one was a little more energetic and a lot better photographed. And I really admire Jennifer Lawrence’s choices; at a point where she could maybe push back against the occasional unflattering camera angle or clunky line of dialogue, she just commits fully and without vanity. Not everyone is willing to ugly-cry for their art these days, you know?