The Playlist

As Helmer Gary Ross Plays Hardball With Salary, Could 'Hunger Games' Sequel 'Catching Fire' End Up With A New Director?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 4, 2012 1:11 PM
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  • 11 Comments
"The Hunger Games" is that rarest of things in the movie industry: an unqualified smash hit. In a world where tentpoles cost upwards of $200 million, Lionsgate's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' popular young-adult novel cost far less, but is doing the same kind of numbers: after the third-biggest opening weekend of all time, it's now taken more than $250 million in the U.S. alone, and half as much again abroad, making everyone involved very, very happy. But as franchises from Marvel to "Twilight" have displayed, once the studio starts making money, everyone else wants in on the action, and that starts to mess around with the business model.

Weekend Box Office: 'Hunger Games' Takes Another Bite Of The Marketplace, 'Wrath Of The Titans' Underwhelms

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 1, 2012 12:54 PM
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  • 3 Comments
It was intriguing to see “The Hunger Games” register an opening weekend just below “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and “The Dark Knight.” Would it mimic 'Potter,' which scored the biggest domestic opening of all time but plummeted by 72% the following weekend? Or would it perform like the Caped Crusader, losing a little more than half its audience? Split the difference – even though “The Hunger Games” dropped 61% from its opening weeked, the sci-fi drama continued to bust blocks, becoming the fifth-quickest release to pass the $200 million domestic mark, besting two somewhat high-profile new releases. The film also broke the Jim Cameron's "Avatar" record for fastest non-sequel to hit $250 million globally.

High Fidelity: Why Fans Demanding Faithfulness To Their Favorite Source Material Is Damaging Movies

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 28, 2012 3:56 PM
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  • 22 Comments
Let's face it, we see more adaptations than original material in movie theaters. And that's not something new: adapting from plays or novels (and now, other movies and TV shows and video games and board games and action figures) is as old as cinema itself. But what has changed, or at least become more organized and noticeable in the age of the internet, is the way these adaptations are approached even before they hit theaters. Something which quite often, leads to what HitFix's Drew McWeeney terms "fantrums."

Girl On Fire: 5 Things That Worked In 'The Hunger Games' & 5 That Didn't

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 26, 2012 12:05 PM
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  • 22 Comments
If you heard the sound of popping champagne corks and cheering in Los Angeles over the weekend, it’s more than likely that it was the celebrations over at Lionsgate HQ. The mini-major were built on low-budget genre fare like “Saw,” but hoped that their adaptation of young-adult publishing phenomenon “The Hunger Games,” co-written and directed by “Seabiscuit” helmer Gary Ross, would push them into the blockbuster game for the first time. And boy, did it ever. In only three days, it surpassed “Fahrenheit 9/11” as the company's biggest ever grosser, taking in around $155 million, making it the third biggest domestic opener of all time, and the most successful non-sequel ever. What’s more, with mostly positive reviews and an A-grade Cinemascore, the stage is set for two sequels that will be licences to print money.

Weekend Box Office: 'Hunger Games' Scores Third Highest Opening In Box Office History With Massive $155 Million Haul

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 25, 2012 12:30 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Who’s hungry? “The Hunger Games” proceeded to predictably beat the stuffing out of the box office, scoring $155 million, the third-highest opening weekend in history, and highest for a non-sequel. The fan base came out in full force, no doubt, but so did the normals, as the books don’t (yet) have nearly the support of “Harry Potter” or “Twilight.” But make no mistake, this property had a similar groundswell of opinion, including an ad blitz and news and web coverage suggesting this was the “good” version of those pre-existing properties. Within three days, Lionsgate has their highest grossing domestic release of all time, and Hollywood’s strongest new franchise. Because everyone secretly loves child murder.

15 Young Adult Fiction Properties That Could Be The Next 'Twilight' Or 'Hunger Games'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 23, 2012 11:56 AM
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  • 72 Comments
Today sees the release of "The Hunger Games," the much anticipated adaptation of the popular young adult novel series about a future in which children are forced to compete in a fight to the death for the entertainment of the overclass, and to help their district fight off starvation. The books have been bestsellers, and Lionsgate have pegged the film to be their own answer to another hugely popular teen-skewing franchise, vampire romances "Twilight." And it looks as if the gamble has paid off, with most prognosticators pegging the film to open well over $100 million in the U.S. this weekend.

Watch: New Clips From 'The Hunger Games' & 'The Hungry Games'

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • March 20, 2012 9:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments
With (mostly) positive word running rampant for “The Hunger Games” all throughout the Twittersphere and reviews flooding in daily (including our own, which called it “thoughtful, thrilling populist entertainment that genuinely deserves to be a franchise”) it’s a wonder that Lionsgate would put any more effort into selling this picture that appears to be a surefire box office smash.

Counterpoint Review: 'The Hunger Games' Is A Tired, Overlong Blockbuster Lacking Flair & Imagination

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 20, 2012 9:03 AM
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  • 42 Comments
With "The Hunger Games" arriving in theaters this weekend and expected to blow up the box office, early reviews have been very positive and anticipation has been running high. Our own review called it "an engaging, thoughtful, populist piece of entertainment that transcends gender, genre or source material." But not everyone in The Playlist camp felt the same. Here's a counterpoint review of the film that offers up a wholly different assessment of the upcoming franchise starter.

Review: 'The Hunger Games' Is Thoughtful, Thrilling Popular Entertainment That Genuinely Deserves To Be A Franchise

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • March 16, 2012 9:01 AM
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  • 12 Comments
Complexity and understatement are two criminally under-utilized values in most mainstream movies these days, but they’re at the core of, and the chief reason for the success of “The Hunger Games.” Director Gary Ross, screenwriter of the proletariat presidential fantasy “Dave” and writer-director of the social-consciousness-as-sci-fi tome “Pleasantville,” has always engaged his subjects with a light and yet substantial touch, but his adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ acclaimed young-adult novel is a truly remarkable achievement: he turns escapism into a deeply emotional experience. Instantly razing comparisons – qualitative especially -- to other female-friendly series such as “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games” is the first film in a long time that deserves Hollywood’s instant-franchise ambitions because it appeals to genre fans regardless of gender by crafting a story that’s both epic and intimate, spectacular and subtle.

Watch: Peeta & Caesar Have A Chat In New Clip From 'The Hunger Games'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 12, 2012 11:51 AM
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  • 3 Comments
We're about two weeks away from "The Hunger Games" unleashing a new franchise upon the world and at the very least, Lionsgate are hoping they have a better weekend than Disney just did with "John Carter" (though, that movie did okay overseas, so it's not going to be quiet the disaster some have been expecting). Anyway, in the case of the Gary Ross directed film he's a got a few things that Andrew Stanton's film didn't have in the lead up to its release: recognizable stars, a clearly explained storyline and memorable trailers. Now it's up to the movie to match the hype.

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