Will 'The Hunger Games' Be The New 'Twilight'?
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Having whipped up a level of fan-frenzy comparable to the Twilight saga, The Hunger Games is due to be released in cinemas at the end of this week. Based on American author Suzanne Collins' best-selling trilogy of books (which have sold 23.5 million copies worldwide), the film is set to become one of the big films of 2012 and promises much from its intense and dramatic trailer.
Set in the future nation of Panem, The Hunger Games follows the story of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) who competes in the annual televised Hunger Games contest, which are held as a punishment for a past uprising. A boy and a girl from each of the 12 districts of Panem compete against one another for survival, with the last child standing winning great rewards for themselves and their district. Collins co-wrote the screenplay, perhaps ensuring a faithfulness to the original books which many have come to love.
The film's young target audience, many of whom will have read the original books, are set for a spectacular thrill ride, as are many older cinema-goers, as the overwhelmingly-positive reaction from film critics has demonstrated.
Kids hunting each other down and trying to kill one another is hardly the easiest subject matter to deal with and the BBFC did make some cuts (at the request of the distributor) in order for the film to achieve the more lucrative 12A rating. Unfortunately for the blood-thirsty amongst you who want blood splatters à la 300, these cuts included “digitally removing blood splashes from wounds and weapons” and cutting down one sequence in particular to make it more family-friendly. Nevertheless, critics have so far praised the film's dealing with its violent, and perhaps disturbing, subject matter.
The film's soundtrack features, somewhat surprisingly, everyone's favourite country singer, Taylor Swift, who provides two songs and it will be interesting to see how these sit. Whatever next – Skrillex scoring the music to The Hobbit?!
Lionsgate – the studio producing the movie – has reportedly spent $45 million on marketing and has certainly created a level of hype amongst fans not seen since One Direction were spotted in their local branch of Sainsbury's. It is clear that the movie will have massive box office success (thanks, in part, to its existing fans) and studio bosses will be laughing all the way the bank: pre-booked tickets in the US already exceed $1 million. Twilight may well have competition for the teen pound....
With its female protagonist and teenage characters, The Hunger Games has been compared to the Twilight saga by many. Whilst this will be good financial news for the film's producers, the CEO of Lionsgate UK, Zygi Kamasa has distanced the film from its blood-sucking colleague, saying that Katniss is a stronger role model for girls than Twilight's ever-moody Bella. Collins has described the Katniss' character as “courageous and principled...with a deep capacity to love and sacrifice for those few people she cares for” - certainly a refreshing female role. And so, in a post-Harry Potter world, is The Hunger Games set to become the next big movie franchise? Almost certainly. Will it be any good? We will have to wait and see...
The Hunger Games is released nationwide on 23rd March