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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire blazes box office

The “Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire” has burst the box office into flames, prospectively to become the highest grossing film in history.

With the sixth-best opening weekend of all time, the second installment to the franchise’s four films has brought in a total of $290 million domestically and $573 million worldwide. The sequel will easily blaze past the first film’s $408 million domestic intake.

The whispers are now whether or not the sci-fi action film can burn the box office to the ground by reaching $1 billion globally.

It looks as if the odds are ever in its favor, with America’s hardcore sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence as leading heroine Katniss Everdeen.

Critics have praised the Academy Award-winning Best Actress for her raw performance as the young girl caught in a futuristic society, forced to fight to the death for the second time in the 75th Annual Hunger Games “Quarter Quell.”

Lawrence anchors the fantasy film to authenticity with tenacity and sensitivity. She draws the audience in with focus and hits a bull’s-eye every time, making history as the highest-grossing film heroine ever.

The other scene-stealers were acting vets Philip Seymour Hoffman as the revolutionary game maker Plutarch Heavensbee and Woody Harrelson as past victor and drunken tribute trainer Haymitch Abernathy.

The cast is completely stacked. Elizabeth Banks delivers a charming performance as the adorably annoying Effie Trinkit, and actress Jena Malone offers the audience some sassy moments worthy of a good chuckle as tribute Johanna Mason.

The relational chemistry between actors was evident. There were many effective moments of mutual energy, such as the jabberjay arena scene, when a force field separates Katniss and Peeta – played by actor Josh Hutcherson.

Director, Francis Lawrence took some different angles (literally) than director Gary Ross of the first installment to the franchise. In the first film, Ross used a shake cam during the intense arena scenes to create an emotion of actuality for the audience. Oppositely, Lawrence pleased critics by using a steady cam throughout all the arena scenes in the second film.

Lawrence brought the picture to another cinematographic level with IMAX camera technology for the arena scenes. This allowed IMAX viewers to experience sequences of the film in an even crisper reality as images spread to fill the entire screen in high-resolution.

In some ways, violence was portrayed more convincingly in the second film of the PG-13 franchise. The death of Cinna, Katniss’ stylist, was executed effectively and believably.

Loyal fans were pleased that the screenplay followed the book to near exactness.

Based from the second book of Suzanne Collin’s trilogy, “Catching Fire” boasts all it needs to keep audiences coming back for more: overly flamboyant costumes, pretty boys, a teen love triangle, violence, fantasy, humor, heartache and a fierce leading lady.

A spark has clearly ignited. It might be an understatement to say that this film is a cultural phenomenon.

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