In the wake of one the weakest weekends of the year at the domestic box-office, [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1](movie:446261) (hereafter referred to as "Mockingjay - Part 1") got some good news as it passed [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) ($259.7 million) and is now the second-highest grossing film domestically in 2014, with $261 million domestically.
With the arriving Holidays likely to give the Jennifer Lawrence-led blockbuster a boost, the question now is if it can pass the $332 million domestic take of [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) and become the year's highest-grossing film domestically.
Before the Holiday Season started this wasn't even a question in most people's minds. With "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" having bested both it's predecessor's $408 million domestic take - as well as the $409 million domestic haul of "Iron Man 3" and $400 million domestic total of "Frozen" - to finish as the #1 film of 2013 domestically, many felt the penultimate chapter of the franchise would see a modest drop, to about $385 million at best (worst?).
However, many factors contributed to "Mockingjay - Part 1" performing a bit below expectations.
First, Lionsgate did not seem to have as strong a marketing push this time around. "Divergent" got a cover an "Entertainment Weekly" cover, for example - and a special issue of "People" - but "Mockingjay - Part 1" received neither.
There were also no tie-ins with Subway this time around or any showings on IMAX screens - both of which may have made this chapter seem like less of an event.
It is also worth remembering that of all the films that have passed the $350 million mark domestically during their initial run, "Catching Fire was the first out of 9 sequels to outgross their predecessor.
Simply put, it is REALLY hard to expand a fanbase that is already that large.
Be that as it may, "Mockingjay - Part 1" still has a very good shot to overtake "Guardians of the Galaxy" by the end of the year - IF it continues to follow the patten of "Catching Fire" from here on out.
That would make Katniss Everdeen the Queen AND King of the charts for the second straight year.
Which is beyond impressive. Very few franchises have even topped the box-office domestically twice or more, period. But that's a story for another day.
For the "Hunger Games" franchise to pull off such a feat could really start to wake Hollywood execs to the fact that women in lead action roles can be bankable.
It's important that "Mockingjay-Part 1" takes advantage of the opportunity, too, since next year, even if "Mockingjay-Part 2" returns the franchise to the $400 million mark, it likely will not be enough for first or even second highest-grossing film of 2015, with "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" likely to break records - and possibly others in a loaded year.
But that's next year. As far as 2014 goes, "Mockingjay -Part 1" has about $70 million in domestic box-office to go for Katniss Everdeen to be a year's champion once more.
I hope she makes it.
What do the rest of you think?