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The movie begins with a distressed Katniss Everdeen hunting outside District 12. Due to PTSD from her time in the Hunger Games, she nearly shoots her friend Gale Hawthorne, as well as re-living the moment she killed Marvel during the Games. The two then return home. As the Victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta Mellark are required to take a Victory Tour of the country and pay respect to the fallen tributes of the other districts. President Coriolanus Snow visits Katniss in her new, lavish home and tells her she has inspired rebellions in the districts, when she and Peeta threatened to commit suicide so that they would both survive the Games. He orders Katniss to convince the entire country that her and Peeta's love was the reason for their actions, and to convince Snow himself, or he will ensure that her loved ones suffer. Katniss and Peeta have been cold towards each other since coming home, except when cameras are around, because her 'love' for him in the Games was staged, while his is real. However, while heading out on the tour, Peeta admits he is grateful to Katniss for saving them in the Games, and suggests they should try being just friends.
The tour first visits District 11, home of Rue, the young girl Katniss befriended in last year's Games, and of Thresh, who spared Katniss when he could have killed her. Although they have been given scripted speeches to read, Peeta discards it and generously pledges an annual portion of their winnings to help compensate the families (which is against convention) and Katniss emotionally voices her gratitude to Thresh and her regret over Rue's death. An old man in the crowd whistles the tune that Katniss and Rue used to signal each other, and makes the three-finger salute of District 12 to Katniss and Peeta. Everyone follows the man's example, until Peacekeepers drag him to the stage and shoot him, to Katniss's horror and anger. Their mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, tells Katniss and Peeta the "show" of their relationship must continue for the rest of their lives, because as victors, they are now mentors and will be rolled into the capital's watching eyes every year. With this and Snow's threat hanging over her head, Katniss and Peeta continue the tour just reading what they're given. The rest of the tour goes poorly, with another man dragged away when he gives a three-fingered salute while Katniss is unsettled when a young girl tells her that she intends to volunteer for the Games once she's old enough, based on Katniss' example. Realizing they're only encouraging reactions in the districts, rather than pacifying them as Snow wants. Katniss proposes a public engagement between herself and Peeta, which is announced on Caesar's show and celebrated at Snow's home in the Capitol after they tour the other districts. However, during the party when Katniss catches President Snow's eye he glares at her and shakes his head, informing her she has failed to meet his demands. Katniss also meets Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamemaker since Seneca Crane's 'suicide', and the two share a brief dance and a few tense words.
Later, Snow watches footage of rebels fighting in District 8 (who carry banners of Katniss's Mockingjay insignia) with Plutarch. Snow remarks that Katniss only wanted to save herself and Peeta, but she is a beacon of hope to the rebels and must be eliminated. Plutarch makes a counter-suggestion that Katniss should be used to show the Districts how the Victors become lackeys of the Capitol, while simultaneously cracking down on the districts to confiscate their hope. Snow muses this is risky, as fear does not always extinguish hope and he'd much rather just have Katniss killed, but decides to test Plutarch's plan.
Returning home, Katniss warns Gale of President Snow's threat to kill both their families, and asks him to run away with her and Peeta. Gale, who is in love with her, is angry about her 'engagement' to Peeta, but he is distracted when she mentions having seen an uprising in District 8 and refuses to leave, thinking now is the time to fight back. A new squadron of Peacekeepers arrive to crack down on District 12, and Gale is publicly whipped after stopping the new Head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, from attacking an elderly black market vendor. Katniss tries to save him but is punched in the face by Thread for interference. Thread is then ready to shoot both her and Gale when Haymitch and Peeta intervene, reminding him that Katniss is the 'darling of the Capitol' and her being killed with reflect badly on him. Thread stands down, but promises to kill all of them if there's even the slightest trouble. He then declares curfew on District 12, promising to shoot any dissidents on sight. Katniss, resigned that she cannot prevent the districts from rebelling even if she wanted to, decides she will stay with Gale and 'cause all kinds of trouble'. She is supported in this by her sister Prim. Snow and Plutarch discuss this incident, and Snow wants rid of Katniss now. Plutarch tells him that while she certainly needs to die it will have to be under the right circumstances, and suggests a way to do it.
President Snow announces Panem's third Quarter Quell, a special version of the Hunger Games that is held every 25 years. For this Quell, all tributes are to be selected from the existing pool of victors. As the only female victor from District 12, Katniss will be back in the Games no matter what and she quickly realizes that getting her back in the arena is the whole point of this rule. After overcoming her initial terror, Katniss makes a deal with Haymitch to ensure Peeta becomes the Quarter Quell's victor, should he compete in the Games, because she sees him as a better person than herself or Haymitch. At the reaping, Katniss, the district's only living female tribute, and Haymitch are reaped by chaperone, Effie Trinket. Peeta immediately volunteers to take Haymitch's place to protect Katniss and they are sent directly to the train, without a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones.
When they reach the Capitol, Haymitch tells Katniss she needs allies during these Games, because the other tributes know one another and will target her and Peeta. Katniss dislikes the Career Tributes (Cashmere and Gloss from District 1, and Brutus and Enobaria from District 2) and mistrusts the temperamental Johanna Mason from District 7, and Capitol favorite, Finnick Odair of District 4. She befriends the District 3 tributes, Wiress and Beetee, as well as Finnick's fellow tribute and mentor, a kindly old woman named Mags. Katniss herself is much sought after as an ally after the other tributes see her archery skills. However, she confesses to Peeta the night before the Games that she doesn't want to be allies with anyone except him.
During the final interview with Caesar Flickerman, Katniss becomes aware of how angry the Tributes are with the situation, as they are trying to convince the President to cancel the Games. Katniss is forced to wear her wedding dress by President Snow, but her stylist and friend Cinna designed it to burn away when she twirled, revealing a Mockingjay dress underneath, symbolizing the rebellion. This infuriates President Snow. Peeta follows this up by lying that he and Katniss married secretly and are expecting a child, throwing the audience into uproar. Finally, the tributes join hands in a show of unity among the districts, defying the Capitol. The interview is abruptly cut off, but the Games are still on. Effie bids Katniss and Peeta a surprisingly emotional farewell despite her Capitol background, saying they deserved better and that she is sorry. Katniss reminds Haymitch of his promise to help keep Peeta alive, and he gives her one last piece of advice: "When you're out in that arena, remember who the real enemy is."
Seconds before Katniss is to be launched into the Games, Peacekeepers enter the room and brutally beat Cinna unconscious and drag him away, which she is forced to watch in horror. She is lifted into a jungle arena, with the Cornucopia at the center of a massive saltwater lake divided into wedges by twelve narrow stone paths. After an initial battle on reaching the Cornucopia, Katniss teams up with Finnick Odair and Mags because Finnick is wearing a gold bracelet belonging to Haymitch, indicating she should trust Finnick. The Careers immediately form their own alliance. After Finnick retrieves Peeta and they pick up weapons, they head into the jungle. President Snow, watching the Games with Plutarch, is already growing impatient. Plutarch reassures him he just wants the audience to see Katniss turn cold-blooded. Snow tells him he can proceed however he prefers, as long as the Games finish with Katniss dead.
Meanwhile, during the Hunger Games, Katniss sees a shimmer of the force field and just as she warned Peeta, he hits the force field at the edge of the arena, which stops his heart, until Finnick is able to revive him, to Katniss's relief. During the night, a thick, poisonous fog appears. Mags bravely sacrifices herself, to Finnick's grief, so that the other three can outrun the fog, which abruptly halts after a certain distance. They rest in the forest, but are soon attacked by a pack of vicious mutt mandrills. Peeta is unexpectedly saved when the woman from District 6, a morphist, sacrifices herself.
They escape to the beach, and are met by Wiress, Beetee, and Johanna at dawn. Wiress is in shock after they went through a section of the arena that rained blood; Beetee is injured and carrying a strange coil of wire. Wiress discovers that the arena is designed like a clock and every hour a specific attack occurs in its designated section, communicating this by repeating the same phrase: "Tick, tock". The twelve-hour section is pointed to by the tail of the Cornucopia, where a lightning storm strikes around a huge tree. The six allies go to the Cornucopia to view the clock system more closely, but they are suddenly ambushed by the Careers. Wiress is fatally stabbed by Gloss, but Katniss shoots Gloss in the heart and Johanna kills Cashmere with her axe; Brutus and Enobaria escape. In the control room, Plutarch Heavensbee sets the Cornucopia island spinning to confuse the tributes' ability to tell time, but when Katniss falls off the island and seems about to drown, he abruptly halts.
After recovering their weapons, the alliance regroups on the beach. Katniss and Finnick are accidentally drawn into a section of the clock inhabited by jabberjays which scream identically to their loved ones, torturing them for an hour. Later, Peeta and Katniss discuss leaving the alliance. Katniss knows they will have to fight them once the Careers are dead and she doesn't want to kill Finnick or Beetee, but she must to keep Peeta alive. Peeta agrees they will leave the alliance after midnight, then mentions that whatever deals she made with Haymitch to keep him alive, Haymitch made promises to Peeta too. Peeta reasons that if Katniss died, he would have nothing to live for, and there are people at home who need her, whereas nobody needs him. Katniss counters that she does need him, and kisses him passionately, no longer acting. Watching from the control room, President Snow shows satisfaction, agreeing that Plutarch predicted accurately that Katniss would reach this point and sacrifice herself. Plutarch nods, then leaves the room, telling Snow to enjoy the rest of the show.
Beetee suggests a plan to electrocute the two remaining tributes outside the alliance, Careers Brutus and Enobaria, using his wire and the tree that is struck by lightning at 12:00, connected to the saltwater pool and the damp beach. He tells Finnick and Peeta to protect him near the tree until midnight, while Katniss and Johanna run the end of the wire down to the beach. Katniss and Peeta are very reluctant to separate now, but she agrees to lay the wire when Finnick and Beetee imply she intends to break the alliance. Katniss tells Peeta she will see him at midnight and departs. When the wire is unexpectedly cut after a distance, Johanna suddenly concusses Katniss, cutting the tracker out of her arm and telling her to stay down, as the Careers are stalking them. She leads Brutus and Enobaria away from the weakened Katniss.
Thinking Finnick and Johanna broke the alliance, Katniss tries to find Peeta back at the tree, but finds only Beetee, who was stunned after touching the wire to the force field. Unable to find Peeta, and hearing the sound of a cannon (the indicator of a tribute's death), she calls out for him frantically. When Finnick appears, she prepares to shoot him, but he stops her by repeating Haymitch's last advice: "Remember who the real enemy is". Changing her mind, Katniss attaches the remaining wire to an arrow. Finnick warns Katniss not to do it, but she shoots at the force field just as the lightning strike occurs, blowing up the tree with hundreds of sparks, and shutting down the forcefield around the arena. This electrocutes Katniss, and causes a power outage in the control room. Shocked, President Snow calls Plutarch Heavensbee angrily, but Heavensbee is gone. Katniss is paralyzed by the explosion and is too weak to move or speak. She opens her eyes and sees burning sections of the arena dome crashing down around her. A hovercraft appears, descends into the wreckage, and picks her up before Katniss passes out.
She awakens in the hovercraft with an unconscious Beetee beside her. Entering the cockpit, Katniss picks up a needle, ready to attack, but unexpectedly, she finds Haymitch, Finnick, and Plutarch Heavensbee, revealed to be a rebel agent against Snow. Plutarch explain that they and the district rebels, along with half of the tributes, had been planning to free her to help support their revolution against the Capitol, as "The Mockingjay"; the hovercraft is headed for District 13. When Katniss learns Peeta and Johanna were captured by the Capitol, she attacks Haymitch for not keeping his promise to save Peeta. Plutarch sedates her, and she awakens days later with Gale by her side, who informs that her family is safe, but District 12 has been destroyed by the Capitol. Katniss, in shock, horror and sadness, begins to look mad in fury, planning to get revenge against the Capitol, personally.
- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
- Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
- Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
- Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
- Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
- Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen
- Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
- Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
- Jena Malone as Johanna Mason
- Alan Ritchson as Gloss
- Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere
- Meta Golding as Enobaria
- Bruno Gunn as Brutus
- Amanda Plummer as Wiress
- Jeffrey Wright as Beetee
- Lynn Cohen as Mags
- Ivette Li-Sanchez as District 5 female tribute
- James Logan as District 5 male tribute
- Megan Hayes as District 6 female tribute and Morphling addict
- Justin Hix as District 6 male tribute and Morphling addict
- Bobby Jordan as Blight
- Elena Sanchez as Cecelia
- John Casino as Woof
- Marian Green as District 9 female tribute
- Daniel Bernhardt as District 9 male tribute
- Tiffany Waxler as District 10 female tribute
- Jackson Spidell as District 10 male tribute
- Maria Howell as Seeder
- E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff
- Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
- Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith
- Paula Malcomson as Mrs. Everdeen
- Donald Sutherland as Coriolanus Snow
- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee
- Patrick St. Esprit as Romulus Thread
- Wilbur Fitzgerald as Cray
- Stef Dawson as Annie Cresta
- Brooke Bundy as Octavia
- Nelson Ascencio as Flavius
- Sandra Ellis Lafferty as Greasy Sae
- Taylor St. Clair as Ripper
Gary Ross, who directed The Hunger Games, opted not to return to direct The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He cited the time needed to write and prep the movie given its tight production schedule as the deciding factor in a joint statement with Lions Gate Entertainment on April 10, 2012. Instead, the film will be directed by Francis Lawrence, with screenplay by Michael Arndt, Simon Beaufoy, and Suzanne Collins. On May 24, 2012, it was announced that the film would be officially renamed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Catching Fire was released on Digital HD and DVD on March 7, 2014.
- “Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire” – 9-part feature-length documentary
- Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
- Deleted Scenes
- Sneak Peek of Divergent
- Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
- Deleted Scenes
- Sneak Peek of Divergent
- “ONE VISION” (A FAITHFUL ADAPTATION)--translating Suzanne Collin’s source material to the big screen
- “THE ALLIANCE” (RETURNING CAST)—an inside look at the close-knit relationships of the returning actors.
- “FRIEND OR FOE” (NEW CAST)--finding the perfect embodiments of the new characters
- Additional Special Features (over 2 hours of content):
- Filmmaker Commentary
- 9-part Making-of Documentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Sneek Peek of Divergent
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire earned $424,668,047 in North America and $440,343,699 in other countries for a worldwide total of $865,011,746. It is the highest-grossing film of the The Hunger Games series, the highest-grossing film distributed by Lionsgate and the fifth highest-grossing 2013 film.
On its first weekend, it was only released in Brazil (November 15, 2013), where it grossed $2.4 million on its opening day and $5.26 million for the weekend. On the following Wednesday and Thursday, it opened in 42 more territories, bringing its total to $32 million in a week. The film opened in 63 other territories and earned $138.4 million during the weekend ($146.6 million including its first week in Brazil). Its three largest openings occurred in the UK, Ireland and Malta ($19.8 million), China ($13.0 million) and Germany ($12.9 million). In total earnings, its largest countries are the UK, Ireland and Malta ($55.5 million), Germany ($43.4 million) and Australia ($34.3 million).
In North America, Catching Fire was the highest-grossing film distributed by Lionsgate and the highest-grossing 2013 film. It became the first 2-D film since 2008's The Dark Knight, as well as the first film with a female lead since 1973's The Exorcist, to top the yearly box office. It is also the top-selling film in Fandango history, surpassing previous record-holder Avatar. The film earned $25.3 million during Thursday late-night showings. It topped the box office on its opening day with $71.0 million (including Thursday late-night showings), which is higher than its predecessor's opening day gross ($67.3 million) and is also the seventh largest single-day and opening-day gross. During its opening weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire claimed first place with $158.1 million, opening higher than its predecessor ($152.5 million). This was the sixth highest-grossing opening weekend, the second highest-grossing opening weekend of 2013 and the highest-grossing opening weekend in November. It was in first place for two consecutive weekends. The film also broke the largest 3-day ($74.2 million) and largest 5-day ($109.9 million) Thanksgiving gross.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 89% based on reviews from 243 professional critics, with a rating average of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads: "Smart, smoothly directed, and enriched with a deeper exploration of the franchise's thought-provoking themes, Catching Fire proves a thoroughly compelling second installment in the Hunger Games series." It was the highest rated science fiction/fantasy movie of the year on the website. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 75 (citing "generally favorable reviews") based on 47 reviews. According to polls conducted during the opening weekend by CinemaScore, the average grade audiences gave the film was an A on an A+ to F scale.
Differences from the book
- Main article: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire book to film differences
- 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' World Premiere Lights Up the Red Carpet. Hollywood Reporter (November 11, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- 'Hunger Games:' Gary Ross won't direct 'Catching Fire'. latimes (April 10, 2012).
- CATCHING FIRE Officially Titled THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE. Collider.com (May 24, 2012).
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved on April 5, 2020.
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- The Hunger Games Movies at Box Office. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Box Office by Studio - LIONSGATE. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- 2013 WORLDWIDE GROSSES. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Box office movies this weekend: ‘Thor: The Dark World’ worldwide; ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ in Brazil; ‘The Best Man Holiday’ in the U.S. (image: Taye Diggs in ‘The Best Man Holiday’). altfg.com (November 16, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Weekend Report: 'Best Man' Surprises, But 'Thor' Still Repeats. Box Office Mojo (November 17, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire conquers global box office. Screendaily (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
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- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) - International Box Office Results. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- 2013 DOMESTIC GROSSES. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- 'Catching Fire' Is The Box Office Champ For 2013. The Huffington Post (January 10, 2014). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- 'Catching Fire' tops 'Iron Man 3,' reigns over 2013 box office. ew.com (January 10, 2014). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- NORTH AMERICA: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Posts Staggering Thursday Haul, Easily Tops 'Iron Man 3' (2nd Update). BOX OFFICE (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Box Office: 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Nabs $25.3 Million Thursday Night. Hollywood Reporter (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Box Office: 'Catching Fire' Ablaze, Scores Massive $307.7 Million Globally. The Huffington Post (November 23, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Forecast: 'Hunger Games' Sequel to Set Record Books on 'Fire'. Box Office Mojo (November 21, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- Weekend Report: 'Catching Fire,' 'Frozen' Set Thanksgiving Records. Box Office Mojo (December 1, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- The 15th Annual Golden Tomato Awards. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on September 15, 2019.
- 'Frozen,’ ‘Catching Fire’ set Thanksgiving-weekend records. Los Angeles Times (December 1, 2013). Retrieved on September 15, 2019.