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What does the early success of The Hunger Games mean?

In case you missed it, The Hunger Games premiered yesterday as endless dedicated fans sat down alongside newbies to bask in the best film of 2012 thus far.  I was one of the many to rush to the midnight premiere to support this teen fiction juggernaut.  As I sat down in the theatre I was very surprised to discover the diversity of audience members.  Since I went to every Harry Potter movie premiere, I am familiar with the crowds of people that go to premiere.  The crowds usually consist of giddy teenage girls who squeal before the credits even start with an occasional older, obsessive fan thrown in.  However, this crowd was vastly different.  I looked around and first noticed that there was roughly an even number of males and females, then I began to notice that the average age of people there was in their 20s.  Considering the source material, a young adult fiction novel, this was extremely surprising.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the series, was published in the US in 1998 and  therefore as many of the films were released in the mid-late 2000s, the fan base grew older with the films.  This is not the case for The Hunger Games for the book was only published in 2008, and only gained widespread popularity about a year and a half ago.  While this may seem odd, it can only lead to the betterment of the rest of the series.  Now let me review what the early reception of The Hunger Games means for the rest of there series.

The Biggest Opening Day Ever for a Non-Sequel

2010’s Alice in Wonderland is the second highest grossing non-sequel in box office history, yet it falls 18th place while Hunger Games snagged the 6th place spot for biggest opening day.  The post-apocolyptic fight to the death film accumulated an unprecedented $68.3 on Friday with $19.7 from midnight showings.  These numbers show a stronger start than blockbuster favorites, The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1.  I, for one, get giddy like a teenage fangirl seeing Hunger Games up next to Dark Knight and Harry Potter.  Although box office success does not always correlate to movie quality (three Twilight sequels hold three of the biggest opening days spots) there is hope that Katniss will follow in Wayne/Potter’s footsteps after being blown away at the Hunger Games midnight showing.  Also, any uncertainty that Lionsgate might not make the second and third installments in the series has been wiped away after seeing these numbers.

A Young, Attractive Cast….THAT CAN ACT!

A rare aspect of blockbusters aimed at teens, ahem, Transformers.  We all knew Jennifer Lawrence could act, she’s a former Oscar nominee for Pete’s sake, it was the rest of the unknown cast that lead to speculation.  Thank goodness they proved everyone wrong.  Josh Hutcherson has been in a number of movies, yet we never got to see him sink his teeth into a good part like Peeta, Liam Hemsworth hits his mark with little screen time, but it is the tributes that Katniss battles in the arena who steal the show. (SPOILERS AHEAD!)

Who didn’t awe when Rue came on screen?  We all know her fate was imminent (there can be only one winner!) but that does not stop us from rooting for the precious District 11 Tribute.  The actress, Amandla Stenberg, has no notable role to her name until now as fans will continue to remember her as Rue, who has arguably the most heart wrenching moment in the series when Katniss buries her in a bed of flowers.

The four tributes you cannot help to hate.  Although we hate them as they mercilessly hunt down the other tributes, we still feel sympathy when they meet their demise for they are still kids and are only doing what they need to do to win.  Leven Rambin, a soap star of All My Children,  has one of the most gruesome deaths as she goes from the beautiful, blonde Glimmer to what could be an Orc from Lord of the Rings after being stung endlessly by tracker jackers.  All four of them shows signs of a promising, future acting career.  We could easily see that they have the looks for it and now we know they have the talent to match.

This wily tribute has a number of run-ins with Katniss and keeps audiences wondering about her as she is neither aggressive nor approachable.  Perhaps the most memorable moment of hers in the movie at the beginning of the tournament when Katniss narrowly escapes Clove and her knives as Katniss rushes into the forest she runs head-on into Foxface.  The two look at each other and seem to make a silent agreement of nonviolence toward one another.  Katniss will not hurt this mysterious tribute as she understands that Foxface simply wants to escape the bloodbath at the cornucopia.  The two run in opposite directions but as we learn later, Foxface is never too far from Katniss.  This silent performance by Jacqueline Emerson is intriguing and displays plenty of talent from this rising star.

We see plenty of promise from these young actors.  It is a shame that nearly all of them meet their end so early in the series.  After viewing the spot on casting, there is no doubt that the new cast members of the second and third movies will please.

An American Film That Appeals to Both Males and Females of an Older Age

Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are two of the best franchises in history, while sadly they are over, it is even more upsetting that the UK has films of this caliber while the US has only Twilight and Transfomers.  Now it seems the tides are changing!  According to many observations, Twilight draws an audience of roughly 80% women while Hunger Games drew in only 60% women.  Looks like men do care about a film that has a female protagonist.  Then there is Transformers which only drags in girls with boyfriends who want to see explosions.

Not only did we see less females at the premiere, we saw significantly less teenagers too.  This will change the target audience, and hopefully lead to a more mature scope for the later films.  The first installment already shows of maturity but I am anxious that the later films will focus more of the love triangle.  Fans have gotten their fair share of love triangle, and the filmmakers better realize that if they want to keep an even ration between male and female audience members.

We said goodbye to Harry Potter last year, we are about to say sayonara to Twilight, and now we are thankfully saying HELLO to The Hunger Games.  The first installment shows a great deal of hope for the future of franchises and I am already anticipating the next film in the series.  Happy Hunger Games!  Also, if you have not seen it yet, you better get your butt to the theatre!!


3 comments on “What does the early success of The Hunger Games mean?

  1. Jeyna Grace
    March 24, 2012

    Early success means they would have to live up to their standards with the rest of the series.

  2. nediunedited
    March 25, 2012

    I was awesome! And it is very promising for the trilogy–they have set the bar pretty high–can not wait! 😀

  3. Pingback: The Unstoppable Rise of Jennifer Lawrence « Kevin's Movies

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