How Massive Can 'The Hunger Games' Actually Be?

As The Hunger Games fast approaches, Jennifer Lawrence is trying her best to temper our expectations. It’s not working.

"The movies could be a huge flop, and everybody is getting excited about nothing," the Oscar nominee tells Celebritext. "Who knows?"
 
Well, anyone who has been paying attention knows that Gary Ross’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel was on track for blockbuster status. The books come with a sizeable, built-in audience. And Lionsgate studio was angling The Hunger Games series to be the logical replacement for the recently departed Harry Potter franchise and the soon-to-be-defunct Twilight saga.
 
Then two events occurred within a few days of each other that led me believe that even those of us expecting big things were seriously underestimating the drawing power of The Hunger Games.
 
First, the studio announced a multi-city mall tour that promises to bring Lawrence, Ross and other Hunger Games cast and crew members to select cities to meet and greet with fans. Twilight enthusiasts know that Summit regularly does the same thing with its vampire-and-werewolf franchise, suggesting that Games was taking a page out of Twilight’s massively successful playbook.
 
Then, in a move that raised even more eyebrows, The Hunger Games surpassed a record for advance ticketing that previously was held by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. In addition, Hunger Games accounted for 83% of ticket sales on the day they went up for the public. I knew awareness was high, thanks to Super Bowl commercials and selective interview spots on major networks. I didn’t know the Games had that big of a following.
 
Prior to these two events, I would have argued that it’s unfair to compare The Hunger Games to Twilight, and to expect this new movie to perform at the same box office level as the wildly popular vampire series. Now, I’m not so sure. The first Twilight opened to $69.6 million in 2008, on its way to a $192 million gross in the States. The sequels only went up from there, with Breaking Dawn: Part 1 topping out at $281.2M last November.
 
Could The Hunger Games hit those numbers? Surpass them? And will March 23 – the day The Hunger Games opens in theaters – mark the beginning of the Summer Blockbuster season … which seems to kick off earlier and earlier each year? Share your thoughts on The Hunger Games. How big could it possibly be? Or is Lawrence on to something when she sheepishly suggests that the survival story of Katniss Everdeen could be "a huge flop?"
  
 
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Next Article by Derrick Deane

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