Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games
In all likelihood, The Hunger Games is going to top the North American box office for the fourth weekend in a row. Starring Winter’s Bone / X-Men: First Class’ Jennifer Lawrence, Gary Ross’ film adaptation of Suzanne Collins bestselling novel is expected to score approximately $20 million at 3,916 theaters by Sunday evening after having taken in $6.45 million on Friday as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
The most recent movie to achieve that feat was James Cameron / Sam Worthington’s Avatar in early 2010. In fact, Avatar stayed at the top for seven consecutive weekends. The Hunger Games, however, won’t get that far. Next weekend, it’ll surely be unseated by Zac Efron / Taylor Schilling’s The Lucky One.
Among the nearly 30 movies that have managed to be no. 1 for four weekends in a row are Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale / Heath Ledger’s The Dark Knight (2008), Peter Jackson / Elijah Wood / Viggo Mortensen’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Steven Spielberg / Tom Hanks’ Saving Private Ryan, James Cameron / Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), George P. Cosmatos / Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985, which was co-written by Cameron), and Jerry Paris / Steve Guttenberg’s Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985).
Now, the last female-centered movie to last at least four consecutive weekends at the top of the North American box office was Curtis Hanson’s The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, featuring Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Moore, and Annabella Sciorra — back in 1992. Do your math. That’s two decades before Katniss Everdeen was unleashed.
Besides The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, since 1980 women had key leading roles in only 11 — out of a total of 53 — movies that lasted four or more consecutive weekends at no. 1 in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to The Hunger Games, the last such release featuring a key leading female role came out in late 1997:
- James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) / Kate Winslet, with Leonardo DiCaprio;
- Adrian Lyne’s Indecent Proposal (1993) / Demi Moore, with Robert Redford and Woody Harrelson;
- Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992) / Sharon Stone, with Michael Douglas;
- Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991) / Jodie Foster, with Anthony Hopkins;
- Amy Heckerling’s Look Who’s Talking (1989) / Kirstie Alley, with John Travolta and Bruce Willis’ voice;
- Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988) / Geena Davis, with Alec Baldwin and Michael Keaton;
- Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction (1987) / Glenn Close, with Michael Douglas,
- James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) / Sigourney Weaver;
- Paul Mazursky’s Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) / Bette Midler, with Nick Nolte and Richard Dreyfuss.
- James L. Brooks’ Terms of Endearment (1983) / Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger, with Jack Nicholson;
- Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond (1981) / Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda, with Henry Fonda;
Gary Ross — who will not be returning for the sequel, Catching Fire — co-wrote The Hunger Games’ screenplay with author Suzanne Collins and Breach / State of Play / Captain Phillips screenwriter Billy Ray. The dystopic adventure drama stars the aforementioned Jennifer Lawrence, in addition to The Expendables 2 / AWOL / The Last Song’s Liam Hemsworth, Red Dawn / Carmel’s Josh Hutcherson, Movie 43 / What to Expect When You’re Expecting / People Like Us’ Elizabeth Banks, and Wag the Dog / Zombieland’s Woody Harrelson.
Also in the cast: The Devil Wears Prada / The Lovely Bones’ Stanley Tucci, Ordinary People / MASH’s Donald Sutherland, American Beauty / Loveless’ Wes Bentley, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising / Race to Witch Mountain’s Alexander Ludwig, Salvation Boulevard / The Healer’s Isabelle Fuhrman, Sitting Babies / Running Wild’s Jack Quaid, and Snow White and the Huntsman / The Girl’s Toby Jones.
Jennifer Lawrence / The Hunger Games photo: Murray Close / Lionsgate.