New ‘Hunger Games’ Image: Lionsgate’s Big Box Office Gamble

Published 3 years ago by

The Hunger Games movie cast District 9 tributes New Hunger Games Image: Lionsgates Big Box Office Gamble

A lot of fans of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book series The Hunger Games will be pleased to see the new photo of Jennifer Lawrence as the story’s heroine, Katniss Everdeen. However, for those of you who have never read the book series and were underwhelmed by The Hunger Games teaser trailer, you are likely still wondering what all the hype is about, and if you should put down your money to see a film that ostensibly looks like a cross between Battle Royale and Twilight. 

Well, if you’re one of those people who is feeling a bit skeptical about this franchise, you’re not alone: A recent business analysis report took a look at the sizable risk that indie studio Lionsgate is taking by making The Hunger Games.

Before we get into the business side of things, a quick synopsis about The Hunger Games:

The Hunger Games revolves around Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a sixteen-year-old girl forced to enter the titular competition – a futuristic televised event in which teenage individuals from different regions of Panem (the former United States) are forced to battle one another to the death in a deadly arena, as a means of illustrating the ruling government’s might.

The article in Bloomberg details  Lionsgate’s attempt to climb from a minor independent movie studio to a major blockbuster player – the type of success story that has been enjoyed by the studio’s rival, Summit Entertainment. Summit has risen to new levels thanks to The Twilight Saga, another young-adult book series that was transformed into a tentpole movie franchise. Lionsgate heads Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns have been hoping to come across the same sort of “game-changer” that Summit managed to snag, and are placing their hopes squarely on The Hunger Games series.

As Feltheimer told Bloomberg: “Hey, we’ve got something really special here…We would be disappointed if we didn’t make three or four movies.


The Hunger Games Katniss Shooting Bow 280x210 New Hunger Games Image: Lionsgates Big Box Office Gamble

The latest photo of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in 'The Hunger Games'

Lionsgate’s biggest success so far has been producing the critically-acclaimed TV series Mad Men for AMC. Beyond that, business has been hard; the studio has lost profits for about four years, and even had to endure a hostile takeover bid during the much-publicized MGM bankruptcy, in which Lionsgate pushed hard to win the crippled MGM’s extensive library of film titles and rights (only to walk away with no prize).

The Hunger Games - which is being directed by acclaimed director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) – has been budgeted at $80 million, making it Lionsgate’s most expensive movie ever and a MAJOR gamble for the studio. Lionsgate has already seen some pretty colossal failures stain their track record, including the $90 million disaster that was this summer’s Conan The Barbarian, and comic book guru Frank Miller’s attempt to adapt Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which is still largely considered to be one of the worst comic book movies ever made (in addition to being a box office flop).

According to Feltheimer, The Hunger Games will need to hit at least $100 million to justify a sequel being made (there are three books in Collins’ series, which Lionsgate hopes to make four movies out of). Of course, early projections are that The Hunger Games could in fact earn anywhere from $200 – $700 million worldwide - if movie audiences come flocking. But at the moment, that’s a big “IF.”

As we’ve discussed on our own Screen Rant Underground Podcast: while Lionsgate has been playing a careful chess game with its marketing of The Hunger Games, it has yet to draw in the mass audience of movie goers who know nothing about these books. The teaser trailer was a bit too sparse, vague, and overall unimpressive to make a major impression on the minds of viewers, and despite extensive casting info, viral games and promo posters and images, there has been very little seen of the considerable effects work that is going to be needed in order to bring the futuristic world of the books to the screen.

Hunger Games interactive cast photo New Hunger Games Image: Lionsgates Big Box Office Gamble

The young cast of 'The Hunger Games'

From the dystopian landscapes of Panem, to the extravagant and flamboyant futuristic world of The Capitol (think The Fifth Element), to the arena of the Hunger Games (which boasts a mix of nature and technology), there is simply a lot of the “blockbuster” aspects of this film that we have to see. Until something eye-catching or jaw-dropping is unveiled to public Lionsgate is facing long odds on its bet.

Then again, as I always say: a movie’s fortune can change in the space of a well-cut trailer (which should be coming very soon). As a fan of the books, I’m still hoping that the odds will ever be in The Hunger Games‘ favor – how about you?

The Hunger Games will be in theaters on March 23, 2012.

Source: Be sure to read the full article on the film over in Bloomberg (via Coming Soon)



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  1. I don’t know much about The Hunger Games but I’m hoping it will be what Fast Five was this year…the real start of the summer blockbusters.

  2. I haven’t read the books so only know the story through the trailer and pics. So far everything they’ve released has seemed a little bland. I hope they pull it off because the story seems epic. Let’s hope it’s nothing like the twilight saga then we might get a decent film!

  3. It’s pretty clear that you guys on this site want this movie to fail for some reason.

    But anyway,

    “it has yet to draw in the mass audience of movie goers who know nothing about these books”

    How exactly did you arrive at that conclusion?

    • I agree I don’t see how they could make that conclusion. But I also think these movies will be nowhere near the harry potter franchise, and money wise near twilight. I dislike the twilight movies I think their awful so I’m hoping this is better. Besides jennifer lawrence I think the other actors are below average.

      • Well you better stop insulting the twilight movies because they have a bigger Fan-base and if you want the next two Hunger Game movies to be made.

      • Trey – why do yu hate the twilight movies???

      • I agree with you about twilight..its pretty bland as far as acting. And its true that it is unlikely that any movie will surpass the Harry Potter franchise. Its quite immature how people diss a movie they’ve never seen. Sure twilight is very successful….but The Hunger Games just makes more sense to me. And they can actually act from what I’ve seen.:)

    • bob,

      I *love* comments like yours, I really do. Because I love it when people are so blatantly, obviously WRONG. We base our statement on the relatively low number of page views, comments and Facebook and Twitter feedback we’ve seen regarding any news about this film.

      We’re fans of this here and hope it turns out to be a great film/franchise. I’ve read all three books and was excited to hear they were going to turn the first one into a movie.

      But hey, thanks for telling us how we feel about the film – appreciate it.


      • Hey Vic, I just wanted to reply to this regarding the ‘low traffic’ you receive to your Hunger Games posts. I run a website entirely about the Hunger Games, called It is the largest fansite online, and has over 20,000 likes on Facebook. It receives more than 10,000 unique visitors every single day. I run a network of sites called ‘Page to Premiere’ ( and it also has a Twilight website, that has been one of the top sites since before the first film was released. That site has received 17,000 likes in 4 years. Just food for thought. The Hunger Games fandom online is extremely active. :)

        • Kimmy,

          That’s awesome, glad to hear it. But I’m speaking from a mainstream movie fan perspective. Also, when the Twilight movie first started development (God help us) there was CRAZY interest in it from fans. Maybe all the HG fans are just focusing on HG-specific sites. But for the movie to succeed it needs to break out and connect with people who haven’t read the books.


          • I agree! I think Hunger Games is the closest thing there is right now to ‘next big thing,’ but the fandom isn’t as widespread as it was for Twilight. I’m crossing my fingers it can expand and succeed as a major franchise.

        • Tell Hunger Game fans to stop hating on twilight Movies because they are going to need them.

          • The Hunger Games will be better than the twilight Series no matter what. :D So yeah, Im not too worried. It will cross 100 million Im sure. cant wait for this movie, its going to be amazing!

            • I never said one is better than the other one. What am saying is there is more twilight fans than are Hanger Games and Lionsgate is going to need them if they want to make that big profit to make the last two HG movies.

              • Well, they dont NEED to make THG like twilight AT ALL. So, if youre saying that the more twilightish they make THG will make more money youre wrong, it will lose many viewers and fans. People will hate that, including me because they both differ SO MUCH.

                • I hope it makes a lot of money because i want to see the rest to the trilogy to become a movie

                  • Same here… although that 4 movie idea sounds so bad -_-

                    • I like the 4 movie idea because the last book has a lot of things happening compare to the first two books

                    • Well it could also be done as one movie, the last book. If they make 2 films they may need to drag out sone stuff.

                    • but if they make one they are going to have to cut a lot out.

                    • I think they can make a decent film regarding Mockingjay. Look at Harry Potter 5. It was pretty decent and they cut ALOT out, sadly lol

                    • i did not like Harry Potter 5 too much was cut out

                    • Are you a book purist?

                    • yes i am

                    • Well that explains it then lol

              • They don’t need the Twilight fans. Twilight fans aren’t the only movie-goers in the world. What they need is a kick-butt trailer and an awesome movie that people what to see.

          • I agree, I don’t even like twilight that much but its really stupid that people hate it based on what they like better. I just can’t get into it as a movie but I do like the Twilight book series.

    • Well, they haven’t grabbed me yet. I’m hoping this will be epic but so far, I haven’t seen anything that would make me put this on my must-see list.

      • Yeah Kahless, im hoping the upcoming trailer next week will change your mind ;)

      • I know… maybe you could READ THE BOOK! Then you would understand why those who have… are excited about the movie.

        • Well, I didn’t read Lord of the Rings, and that movie had me extremely excited. Many movies based on novels do not translate well to the big screen. I’m not saying this movie will tank, I’m saying I haven’t seen anything that has gotten me excited about it. A good trailer can change that.

  4. Listen, Hunger Games was a MUCH better book than Twilight, with a better story. This movie has WAY better casting. There is no “if” about this movie being huge. It will be PHENOMENAL. There is no doubt that fans will come “flocking”. And it seems that this will be a great movie of its own accord, so it should draw audiences outside of the book’s fanbase.

    • I am a big twilight fan and read all the Hunger Games books and loved it however ever time fans like you say how Hunger Games is a better story than Twilight it makes me not want to go see the Hunger Game movie. In addition, from what I read, Lionsgate is going to need the twilight fans if they want to make the next two Hunger Game movies.

      • @VidaLady

        So yorue saying the Twilight STORY is much better than The Hunger Games STORY?

        LOL, well THG will attract fans of Harry Potter and Twilight so I expect THG to be huge.

        • I never said one is better than the other one. Its the same fan base but starting a rivalry between them is not going to help HG.

          • lol, well the rivalry is already growing everywhere.

            • that will not help HG needs to make $325 million to be profitable

              • It will make alot if it doesnt then oh well, Id rather have a good movie than a horrible series.

      • hunger games…twilight…this one is better…yada yada yada. you all are comparing apples to oranges (i know that is a tired old saying, but i’m a tired old dude!)those two stories are not even closely related. the only thing they have in common is 1, they are both works of fiction, and 2, they were both written by female authors. you would be better off comparing twilight to abbot and costello meet dracula, as they both have vampires and werewolves…which one is better? it’s all a matter of opinion. there is no fact that you could present me that one story is better than the other. now…i am strictly talking about books, because, we havent seen the hunger games films yet. my daughter read all of the novels in discussion here, but she flat out refused to watch any of the twilight films, which is puzzling to me, as i had to take her to the bookstore at midnight when the last book came out. she is looking forward to the hunger games films. i watched the 1st twilight film, found it kinda boring, and have had no desire to watch the other ones. i have not read the books either…however, i have read the hunger games series, and liked them, and am hoping the films do it some justice. im not getting to riled up about it, but i do agree the teaser trailer was kinda dull, but they put it out after they had something on film and wanted to get something to start the buzz, i’m sure a proper trailer will get the ball rolling

  5. I’m really looking forward to the first trailer, and I hope it’s well done, gives a good sense of what the film will be like and hooks the viewer.


    • I’m just hoping the film doesn’t get “Twilighted”. The books are so violent and gritty and maybe even a little dark, which is partly what makes them so riveting to read. As long as they don’t sap it up, and follow the majority of the source material I believe even the casual fan should enjoy it.

    • Yes, I’m super excited for the trailer! Hoping that it shows non-fans how awesome the series is.

  6. I read the first book, and before I could finish it I had gone and bought the other two. I believe that any success or lack of, will be based on how they developed the screenplay, how close to the source material they stayed. I loved the story, and wish them the best.

  7. I don’t quite understand the opinion that this movie won’t make alot of money. Will it make $700 million? I don’t know (if I had to guess I’d say probably not). But I think it’ll absolutely make a nice profit.

    I’m not 1 for knowing book sales, I myself just read the 1st and 2nd book over the past few months (I haven’t touched the 3rd 1 yet except for when I bought it) but from what I understand the series has sold great.

  8. Honestly, you could write the same thing about John Carter. Besides the teaser trailer from over the summer, I haven’t seen much marketing for it. Unless I’m missing something?

    • I’m not too enthusiastic about that movie either. The trailer didn’t grab me.

  9. Have they said any date for the first trailer yet?

    • The trailer for THG will be attached to “breaking dawn” So before that or on that day.

      Im excited for this trailer. It was rated “G” though -_- oh and it has a runtime of 2:30 :D

      btw, the movie will be PG13 Im 75% sure.

      • Monday November 14 it will premiere on Good Morning America.

        At least that’s what the Hunger Games Facebook page says…

        Here’s to it being better than the “teaser trailer” we got over the summer.

  10. That’s a good point about “sapping the story up.” Never read the Twilight series of books but if they grabbed their audience like “The Hunger Games” did me then the movie series has done a disservice to the books. To me “The Hunger Games” plays out like the best Robin Hood story and not the Twilight movies with their long pauses between dialog and even longer longing looks. There’s a good 3 way triangle love story in it but it doesn’t come off sappy, though there is enough angst I believe to satisfy any young teen. Think “Star Wars” 4,5, and 6. The drama slowly builds but moves quick enough to keep you reading, Collins really knows how to sucker you into turning the pages. By the end of the opposite page she’s got you wondering what’s going to happen next.

    Seriously though I found the high-tech a little sparse in the books. It won’t give “Avatar,” “Tron,” or even “Green Lantern” any competition in the wow department. It probably falls somewhere between “Captain America” and “Thor” in effects and eye candy. The real strength of “The Hunger Games” is the story, The action, the tension, the love story, the drama, with some subtle but cool effects thrown in…

  11. I’m a big fan of the books, but i feel like the marketing team is falling flat here. I’ve said it before, i feel like they should set up a fake Capitol run website. Make it a sort of *get to know your tributes” site complete with fighter stats, home sector information, weapon’s of choice, etc.
    come on guys, whip up some hype already.

    • That’s an awesome idea! They should pay YOU to promote their movie! It has so much potential!

  12. My whole family read and loved Hunger Games. While I agree that the released trailers, photos and info have been low key, my hope is that they are beginning a slow burn that will get bigger and bigger. I can’t wait for new details and am excitedly counting the weeks until the movie release.

    It’s never even occurred to me that this will fail. That may be naive, but if you look at the phenomenal success of the books – success in buzz and reader engagement, let alone sales – and the spectacular, visual world and heart-stopping situations the story sets up – how COULD it be lackluster?

    I know, I know, a badly designed movie could turn everyone away. But I’m keeping the faith. So far I’ve seen nothing to make me think they’ve failed us. The director is a fan (a good prerequisite for adapting the book) and I believe the author, Suzanne Collins, is heavily involved. I am a believer!

  13. I’m excited for this movie (it has great potential IMO), the teaser was a bit of a letdown, but I’m really looking forward to the trailer.

  14. anchampion03
    Sidereel did post this website a couple months back, which it all kind of confuses me on what I am suppose to be doing. I guess it is just a way to get HG fans together on facebook.

    I think we will see a big audience with the HG fan base but the teaser trailer diffidently didn’t grab many non HG readers eye yet. It will all depend on the trailer is my guess. Though I am still questioning why they need to split the last movie in two… I really dont feel they need to do that. I mean sure there was a lot that happened but nothing in comparison to Harry Potter and with Twilight I assume its just for the money b/c I feel it doesn’t need to be split either. Only Time will tell…

  15. FYI I’ve just read that the hunger games trailer will be on Good Morning America on 14 November

    • Indeed :) Im excited for it!

  16. The books are great and I think they’ll transfer to film more easily than a lot of novels. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are both very talented young actors. I’d be surprised if this isn’t a huge success (unless they take all of the characters’ personalities out like “The Last Airbender”–great cartoon, terrible movie).

    Plus, the teaser trailer barely scratches the surface of how exciting the plot really is. I’m not worried!

  17. The HG books were recommended to me by several people before I gave them a shot. I had read the synopsis and it just sounded god awful- not my genre at all. Finally, my virtual twin insisted that I read them, and I couldn’t put them down, absolutely loved them. It was like book crack.

    If they stay true to the story, and can manage the kind of emotional ties you feel when you read it, I think the movies will do well despite the lackluster footage we’ve seen so far. And I can’t wait to see Woody as Haymitch.

  18. lol @ amber…book crack!

  19. can’t wait to watch Hunger Games movie.

  20. Assuming the movie itself isn’t terrible, I think it will at least be moderately successful and probably make enough to justify a sequel.

  21. I’m actually pretty worried that the movie could tank. Do not get me wrong I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES<3 but thr trailers have not captured my attention and I do not think it has captured anyone really, there just bland. Even my sister who I told the book was amazing saw the trailer and said it does not seem like what i told her that it did not seem exciting or interesting. I was dissapointed but I'm praying that the movie makes a good profit.

  22. I think HG for sure will be super successful. I doubt it will even come close to be as popular as twilight but HG seems to draw more of a male audience than twilight to me…but that’s just me:)