A post-apocalyptic world that used to be North America is now a nation called Panem. It exists under the watchful eye of the Capital, the nation’s dictatorship run by President Snow. This is the world of “The Hunger Games.”
After the collapse of North America and the creation of the Panem, 13 districts were formed. However, District 13 rose up in opposition to the Capital, only to be defeated. Now, as a reminder of the Capital’s power and the required submission of all citizens of Panem, the Capital puts on the Hunger Games, in which one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 to 18 are chosen from all 12 districts. They all must fight until the death in a nationally-televised competition; only one walks out alive.
“The Hunger Games”, a novel by Suzanne Collins, begins with the novel’s heroine, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, waking up to another morning under the hostile conditions of Panem where starvation and poverty run rampant. On this day in particular, “reaping day,” the Hunger Games begin.
This reaping day, on which the boy and girl from each district are chosen, Katniss volunteers to be the tribute representing District 12 in place of her younger sister, Primrose, who was originally chosen. This action places her on a journey which tests every aspect of herself as well as her fellow contenders. Collins writes on many themes throughout the book, including love, friendship, loyalty, pain, death, violence and sacrifice.
“The Hunger Games” is a USA Today and New York Times Best Seller, staying on the New York Times list for over 100 consecutive weeks. Stephanie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series, praised the novel. as well as Rick Riordan, author of the “Percy Jackson and the Olympian” series, called it, “As close to a perfect adventure novel I’ve ever read.”
With the film adaptation set to hit theaters this Friday, March 23, much anticipation has been built around the film. Many predict this series to be the next “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” cultural phenomenon. One interesting aspect of the “Hunger Games” series is that it will appeal to young men more than the “Twilight” series. This makes box office predictions hopeful that opening weekend can rake in at least as much as a “Twilight” film, such as “Breaking Dawn: Part 1”, whose weekend box office sales came in at around $140 million.
Starpulse says, “Like the ‘Twilight’ series, ‘The Hunger Games’ features a love triangle between the three sexy young stars. Unlike in ‘Twilight’, however, the romance takes a back-seat to themes of loyalty, oppression and the sinister undertones of today’s reality TV culture”.
However, the opening weekend of “The Hunger Games” isn’t predicted to rake in as much money as the first “Harry Potter” film did, which brought in more than $90 million. This is mostly because “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was advertised as a PG family film, while “The Hunger Games” is a PG-13 film depicting teens hunting each other in the wilderness or in combat with each other. Lionsgate, however, has created a $45 million advertising campaign to draw in viewers this opening weekend. Their trailers do not actually depict the teens hunting each other because out of context, it might scare viewers away even though those themes are central to the movie’s plot.
Regardless of comparisons to other series giants, “The Hunger Games” is promising to be well-recieved. Reviews of the film are already coming in, with upwards of five stars. I know I will be there Thursday night for the midnight premiere and let you guys know how it turns out. But with the author of the series acting as a writer as well as executive producer for the film, it is bound to be an audience pleaser and a box office hit.
Contact CUI Entertainment Reporter Ellie Patterson at Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org.