‘Hunger Games’ breaks box office records, Jennifer Lawrence delivers as Katniss

I am not at all ashamed to declare myself as one of the countless people who watched The Hunger Games on opening day. In fact, many millions of people bought tickets (many of us in advance), and The Hunger Games is showing very promising early box-office returns with a projected likely $150 million weekend, which (if true) would beat every one of the opening weekends for the respective Twilight Saga movies. Of course, this success isn’t at all unanticipated because Hunger Games caters to a much wider-reaching audience than the tweenage girls (and their mothers) that swooned for Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. At the very least, The Hunger Games has already achieved the fifth-best opening day ever and the best opening day for a non-sequel movie:

Building on a strong midnight launch, The Hunger Games had one of the best opening days ever at an estimated $68.25 million. That ranks fifth on the all-time list behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1 million), New Moon ($72.7 million), Breaking Dawn Part 1 ($71.6 million) and Eclipse ($68.5 million). It wound up slightly ahead of The Dark Knight ($71.6 million), and also topped Alice in Wonderland ($40.8 million) to set a new record for a non-sequel.

The Hunger Games looks even more impressive when subtracting its $19.74 million midnight gross–throughout normal business hours, the movie earned $48.5 million, which is actually more than Deathly Hallows Part 2 made in that time ($47.57 million). In fact, The Hunger Games only ranks behind Spider-Man 3 ($49.8 million) and The Dark Knight ($48.7 million) in non-midnight opening day grosses.

The Hunger Games received a strong “A” CinemaScore, and should finish the weekend with anywhere from $135 million to $160 million.

[From Box Office Mojo]

While there were indeed unreasonably high expectations for this movie, I felt little to no disapointment at all where the cinematic product was concerned. Mostly, I appreciated that the screenwriters paid special attention to the fact that while the book is written in first person (from the perspective of Katniss), the screenplay demanded some careful modification to translate it to the big screen so that it would satisfy both readers of the books and neophytes alike. The final result was not only true to the source material but also added and subtracted to the original story to subtle but great effect. What follows is slightly spoilerific, so consider yourself warned. SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, the acting was superb with the three “leads” — Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss), Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta), and Liam Hemsworth (as Gale) — all doing their jobs as well as the script would allow. Even more stellar were the supporting players, which included Stanley Tucci (as Caesar Flickerman), Elizabeth Banks (as Effie Trinket), Woody Harrelson (as Haymitch), and Lenny Kravits (as stylist Cinna), who all threatened to steal the show but knew how to reign their performances before it became too much. Of course, Haymitch wasn’t nearly as crotchety and drunk as he was in the book, and the movie made him a much more sympathetic character as well. Mainly, this difference was due to time constraints, which was the main weakness of this adaptation, but director Gary Ross did a phenomenal job of pacing the story and pushing it towards a timely conclusion. Of course, The Hunger Games wasn’t a perfect adaptation, but it came damn close.

When it comes to additions to the book, I enjoyed the fact that the movie contained numerous “behind the scenes” moments that showed the gamemakers before and during the games themselves. Not only were there some extra moments that showed Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) being interviewed by Caesar and being grilled by President Snow (Donald Sutherland), but we also got to see some fairly deft arena manipulation from the games’ control room. All of these moments added to the experience and also eliminated potentially prolonged moments of expository hangups from the mind of Katniss. While these new revelations may have tied up a few minutes of the movie, they also broadened the scope of the story and enhanced the experience.

However, I also found that the movie also eliminated a few necessary elements from the story for time’s sake. Unfortunately, the character of Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was shortchanged quite a bit and received an abridged opportunity to show his motivations within the games as well as his reasons for falling for Katniss. On the other hand, we got to see more than expected from Gale (Liam Hemsworth), including his reactions to Katniss’ behavior within the arena, than the book originally dictated. So I guess it all balances out in the end, and Hutcherson did a great job with the opportunities presented within the script. Overall, his Peeta could’ve used more screentime and opportunity to develop the character for the audience, but Hutcherson was believable even if the screenplay didn’t do him many favors in explaining his motivations as more than a lovesick puppy dog.

Ultimately, the movie was as satisfying an experience as fans of the book could possibly hope for. I cheered in all the right spots, and I cried when Rue (Amandla Stenberg) met her untimely end. The special effects were a bit uneven — although the fire wall of the forest looked very believable, Katniss’ “Girl On Fire” dress left something to be desired. Also, while the interpretation of the District 12 setting felt perfect, the Capitol experience didn’t seem fully fleshed out. However, these little omissions are mere trifles compared to the success of the overall movie. Will I see it again? When it comes out on DVD, my order will be placed.

UPDATE: Box Office Mojo is reporting that The Hunger Games will finish the weekend with an estimated $155 million take. That would put the movie in third place for best opening weekend of all time behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight.

Photos courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

 

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

115 Responses to “‘Hunger Games’ breaks box office records, Jennifer Lawrence delivers as Katniss”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. lisa says:

    I so want to see it. But will wait for later in the week. Too crazy right now. Bravo to the entire cast.

  2. Asli says:

    I’m thinking about taking my sisters – 7 and 8 – to see this on Friday. Do you think it’s appropriate. I haven’t read the books so I only know about it through trailers and this site.

    • The Original Original says:

      There were lots of kids at the showing I went to. There isnt as much violence as you might think with this type of story. There are a few killings obviously, but nothing too bloody for the most part and the camera doesnt linger on any kills/blood/etc for too long.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      If the movie is true to the books, no. I’ve read the entire series three times, and there are parts of it I don’t want to see on-screen.

    • ... says:

      I saw the film and I would say it’s not appropriate for 7 and 8 year old kids. They are not showing much blood, but they show teens/kids killing kids – and they lay there with open eyes, it’s very tragic. Also the atmosphere is really tense (they are hunting each other!), I was pretty much captured and I think children with their own fantasy cannot handle the topics being told there. Just my opinion :-)

    • Asli says:

      Thanks everybody! Gave me lots to think about :)

      • Belle says:

        Asli… I know you have gotten several answers, but I thought I would add my opinion as well. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but have read all the books. These books were geared toward ‘young adults’. The premise is basically children killing children. My oldest daughter (now 15) probably started reading these books when she was 13. My younger daughter is 10, and I won’t let her read the books yet. Same goes for the movie… my 15 year old is seeing it tomorrow, but my 10 year old will be missing this one. I don’t have a strict rule about pg-13 movies or anything… she has seen her share, it just depends on the reason for the rating. In this case, it isn’t just the violence… it is the type of violence, children killing other children. I’m sure there will be plenty of parents who bring their young children along to see Hunger Games… doesn’t make it okay. I’ve seen parents who bring very young children to very scary and/or inappropriate R rated movies as well!

      • txmom says:

        I took my 9 and 11-year olds to see it. It was perfect for my 11-year-old (who mostly hangs with 13 year olds), and acceptable if a bit intense for my 9-year-old (who is in the 4th grade). The violence is not insane, but the whole set up is about human cruelty and its consequences. Which is better than a lot of violence without thinking about its consequences, I guess.

        I think 7 and 8 might be too young. My 9-year-old thought it was very sad. She is pretty mature but I think it would have been a bad choice for her at 7.

      • Asli says:

        Thanks! I didn’t think I wanted to take them after hearing about dead kids just laying there :/ I have NO CLUE about this series so I really don’t know what happens. I’ll go with a friend instead and take them to see something else. It really doesn’t matter to them. They mostly just go to watch animated movies and there’s a bunch out now I think. Thanks for the tip :)

    • Bad Fairy says:

      Its about kids fighting each other to the death. Not a kids movie in my opinion.

    • Kaz says:

      I saw tons of little kids at my showing (noon opening day), but to each his own. It is sad and slightly gory at some parts. Must see though!

    • Andria says:

      I don’t know if my 8 year old daughter is mature for her age (?) but I took her and a 9 year old neighbor friend and it wasn’t too much for them. The violence is much less graphic in the movie than the books.

      As far as the subject matter of kids killing kids … the kids in the Hunger Games aren’t monsters or villains The kids from Districts 1 and 2 are more brutal than the others, but kids understand the idea that some kids are meaner than others.

      I think if you talk to your kids, about current events as well as movies and books, then the way the movie is handled shouldn’t be too much for the average 8 year old.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      You’ve got to read the books, honey, before even attempting to make your decision.

      My mind is a very active and imaginative thing. I have an extremely vivid imagination so, for me, my kids shouldn’t see these movies until after a responsible adult (ME or one of my parents) has.

      But that’s me. It’s an individual thing.

  3. The Original Original says:

    I agree its the best I could have hoped for. I am pleasantly surprised how it came to life on the big screen.

  4. the original bellaluna says:

    I’ve not yet seen it, but I’ve read the entire series three times.

    I truly hope I’m not disappointed.

  5. Jacq says:

    I feel like the only person on the planet who knows nothing about the book (or film)!

  6. Poppy says:

    Guess I am the only person in the U.S. that didn’t like the books and has no desire to see this movie franchise. I read the first book. The second book was a struggle. The third book started off so poorly I couldn’t get past the third chapter. I don’t think Katniss is a great character. She annoyed the hell out of me. Certainly not a heroine. She’s indecisive, selfish, arrogant, and wishy washy. Peeta was a moron. But he wuvs her. I guess this is the day when I don’t see the appeal in a lot of stuff H-wood is doing.

    Jennifer Lawrence is too beefy for this character imho. Who cares if makes more money than the “Twilight” series? That made pots of money for all involved. They are completely different story lines except for the whole love triangle thing. I must be getting too old.

    • hatuh says:

      I have two adolescent daughters, so the fact that Lawrence was “beefy” was one of the things I liked about the movie. I appreciate my girls having a heroine who doesn’t wear an unrealistic size 0, like pretty much every other actress that could have played this part. I hope she doesn’t go losing 30 pounds before the next movie.

    • ... says:

      Isn’t this the point of the books, that Katniss is not the typical heroine? ;-)

    • P says:

      I’ll tell you, I don’t like YA oriented books, so I read THG imagining Katniss as an actual adult and the same with the other characters, which made things much better in my opinion. I also have no desire to see this movie and I also think Katniss shouldn’t be labelled a heroine. The fact is, it doesn’t matter if a movie makes more money than another, because it’s just a franchise, it’s not very much award worth, it’s basically labelled as a movie for kids, and that’s why it makes so much money.

    • Daphne says:

      Um. WOW. She’s too “beefy”? I guess staring at emaciated actresses in supposed “kick-ass” roles (where we’re supposed to believe that they can wield a machine gun without breaking their own arm) for too long has taken it’s toll on how we perceive strength and being in shape. Jennifer’s body was sick in this movie. She wasn’t portly or chubby or “beefy”. She was toned, in shape, and very strong looking. I hit the gym right after I watched it.

      • danielle says:

        Add me to the list of people horrified that someone called Lawrence “beefy”. She looks incredibly fit – and the character of Katniss is a hunter. In the past she was on the verge of starvation, but as she gets better and teams up with Gale her family eats better – she points out that she probably gets fresher food then Peeta does. Probably much higher protein content too. While she would be familiar with the feeling of hunger, that’s not the same as being on the verge of starvation.

  7. backwards says:

    I loved it!
    The cinema was packed- from grannies to kids.

  8. Samigirl says:

    I was more impresesed with the movie than I thought I would be. The differences from the book were subtle, and had zero effect on the movie, IMO. The acting was great, and Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. I was definitely satisfied with the movie. S/N to everyone who keeps saying JL was too “beefy.” Katniss and Gale HUNT. Peeta bakes. Their families eat better than most families of district 12. They aren’t starving in the least. And if you’d watch the movie, you’d see how tiny Katniss’ waist actually is. She’s got an excellent shape. And, as my husband pointed out, great lips!

  9. Franny says:

    tried to go last night but it was sold out. hopefully the 10:30 AM show isn’t!

  10. Bite me says:

    I finished reading the first book on Thursday I think am going to wait until the DVD comes out on redbox

  11. Heather says:

    I agree- the casting was perfect. I have read all the books and when I first heard Liam and Josh were cast, I thought they would be cast the other way around, and I was kind of disappointed that Liam wasn’t Peeta but after seeing the movie they both did well in their roles and now I think they are good fits as Gale and Peeta.

    I wish they had done more background on the Capitol and some of the secondary characters. They hardly talked about the uprising except in that short video. I understand due to the time constraints but I would suggest anyone that sees/likes the movies read the books – there is so much more background info that gets you into the story.

  12. K says:

    Loved the books, but did not love the movie:-(

  13. Luls says:

    I watched it last night!

    So…. The book was much better obviously. My main complaint is that they skimmed over the background story details and motivations of the characters which would have made the whole thing so much more powerful and moving.

    Nevertheless, It did manage to elicit my emotions at some points and i mostly enjoyed it. So judging it solely as a movie, (rather than as an adaptation), it’s worth watching!
    Not so sure I’m crazy about it though….

    Oh AND the casting and acting of ‘president snow’ was piss poor in my opinion. He’s supposed to be the biggest villain, but he came off as a tame Santa claus type to me! :S

    • Melissa says:

      I completely agree about Snow, hopefully in sequels he will show how scary he is, but I did not get the snakey scary vibe from him in the film at all.

    • ... says:

      Haha, Santa? ;-) I think Sutherland can get way more out of the character in the next films – at least I hope so. He gave me the creeps in the last book! And I agree, they left important scenes out of it…especially in the end. Am curious how they handle that in the next films, because lots of the stuff bases on the background they left out.

  14. Jen wind says:

    My husband and I saw it yesterday morning. It was fantastic! I left the theater ready for catching fire to come out. I have friend who is almost done with the book. I told her I would go see it with her when she is done.

    I thought it was really well done! Jennifer lawerance is amazing. What a great actress. I laughed, I cried, I was so happy!! Bravo those involved in making it!!

  15. Jess says:

    It was really really good! The theater was PACKED and we got there early! I eye-shanked a couple bitches who were “saving” seats but luckily found center middle in the first row of the stair seats (which was nice since the bar acted as a foot rest. Loved it!

    Oh, and we deliberately went to a matinee showing at a lesser known theater to avoid a crowd. Apparently 4:30 wasn’t early enough on a Saturday…

    • truthSF says:

      It’s hilarious to read your “side eye shank” comment, only to follow that by reading Michael K. of Dlisted version. Did you two go together, or were yall both at the same theater by any chance, because you guys seemed to share the same sentiment.

      From Dlisted:

      Yes, I was one of the 10 trillion a@sholes who waited 90 minutes to see The Hunger Games (not to be confused with New York Fashion Week). Yes, I was also that a-shole who threw a not-so-secret side-eye and an under the breath “stupid c-nt” at the people in front of me whose group of friends magically showed up to join them in front of the line ten seconds before they let us in. (Note: That “stupid c-nt” was really meant for me, because I’m mad that I didn’t have friends who waited 90 minutes in line for me.) You were probably one of those a-sholes in line with me, because EVERYBODY went to see that Hongray sh!t this weekend.

  16. Bek says:

    I loved it! It came out here on Thursday but I waited until Friday night as we had booked tickets for gold class and it was worth the wait. For the most part they did a great job with the adaptation and I was very pleased with JL’s performance and also Lenny Kravitz. Cinna is my favourite minor character in the books and Lenny did a good job.

  17. cupidityrox says:

    I havn’t read the books yet but will soon remedy that.. I’ve heard good things about the movie & will definately be seeing it.. Now if only Everworld will be made into a tv series then my life will be complete

  18. mia girl says:

    Behead- This is a great post. Agree with so much of what you’ve covered.

    I’m glad that in addition to praising Lawrence (who was great) that you also pointed out Hutcherson’s performance as well. I had read that he was a weak link, but having seen the movie I really disagree. I think he pulled it off and brought a lot to the character even though he wasn’t given much to work with.

    If anything, Hemswoth’s extreme good looks and strong physique really stood out among the sickly looking people of district 12. So Gale was a bit strained for me within context… They could have at least dirtied him up a bit! I like Hemsworth so I am looking forward to seeing what he can do w the character in the next installments.

  19. Melissa says:

    As far as small children in the theater, I took my 11 and 8 year olds. My 11 year old was fine, and the only part my 8 year old didn’t like was the same part the entire theater jumped at- when the muttations enter the arena. Otherwise, it really depends on the child. Mine loved the movie.

  20. Phie says:

    I went Friday night, had to stand outside for a solid hour waiting in the cold, still got (kind of) crappy seats – and it was all worth it! I enjoyed the movie a lot, and thought Jennifer Lawrence was an amazing Katniss! She was softer than the book Katniss, but it suited the movie perfectly!

    The people I went with had not read the book and knew very little of the plot, and they were raving about the movie also!

    I never cried when reading the books – but watching Rue’s death on screen was heartbreaking and I bawled. It was a very well done scene.

  21. Tiffany says:

    I have not read the books but I went and saw the film and loved it. The acting, the districts and Capital were all great looking on film. I am looking forward to the next film because President Snow was pisssssed. I bought my ticket on Wednesday for a Saturday 4:50 showing. Good thing I did because that show and every one after that was sold out.

  22. Isabel says:

    Am i the only one who doesn’t get the hype and thinks this a cheap Battle Royale knock off? -.- That movie was awesome, im not even gonna watch this.

    • cr says:

      But it’s not. Per Collins she was influenced by Theseus and the Minotaur. Battle Royale isn’t anything new, either.

      “There is nothing new under the sun”

    • jermsmom says:

      No, you are not the only one, tons of people who think they are intellectually superior to anyone who has read The Hunger Games have already made their point about Battle Royale. We get it. As Chris Carter (X Files) so well stated, “there is nothing thunk that hasn’t been thunk up before”

      • cr says:

        That and they seem to be comparing BR only to the first book. And it’s the first part of a trilogy, and they seem to ignore that, because by the end of the second book, it’s not about tributes fighting in a televised spectacle, it’s about politics and war and revolutions. Which I don’t think BR gets into that much, it’s more about the surviving.

      • LAK says:

        @cr – I can’t answer for all br fans, but here is my take and why I get pissed off at thg fans. As you yourselves keep pointing out, everything is a copy, so why pretend that thg isn’t a copy when it blatantly is. What annoys people is the way thg fans talk about it as though it were original and new.

        I am talking about books NOT films. BTW, The second installment, BATTLE REQUIEM, tells the winner’s revenge and hunt for the people who forced him to do the ‘games’. The other consideration is that thg is targeted at young adults rather than adults. Battle Royale/Requiem is targeted at adults and written accordingly. To me THG is a watered down version of the other.

        That said, I also get annoyed with people who compare brfilms with thg books because as we all know and acknowledge, film adaptations can go any way they like, so it isn’t a fair comparison. However,If you haven’t read both series,and are arguing from the point of view of the earlier films, there is enough there that it can’t even be called an ‘inspired by’ story. I would say it’s story retold in much the same way that westside story is a retelling of romeo & Juliet.

  23. cr says:

    Becoming?. Always have been, always will be. This isn’t a new concept, it’s as old as humankind itself.

  24. Wilma says:

    Saw it on friday with my husband. We went to the theatre for another film, but were too late and then saw the hunger games instead. We both didn’t know anything about the books or the film (other than reading about Jennifer Lawrence on here). Loved it, will see it again with my brother. It felt original and real. It also felt like the entire audience was extremely concentrated and invested in the film. When the games began everyone seemed to be holding their breath. And it didn’t feel like it came from a book at all. Now that I’ve seen it I have read some reviews and comments and lots of booklovers feel that there’s too much missing, but I think it was very well done as a film. I was able to follow the plot, grasp what characters were about though these were not black and white characters at all and was left hungry for more. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

  25. d says:

    Saw it yesterday and have to agree with this article’s assessment. It’s got legs and I’m really curious to see how the next films will play out.

    I was impressed with all the actors too, even those in supporting roles. Like, even at really short screen time, they were memorable, even those that were killed off.

    I was even initially not too keen about the actor playing Peeta, but he sold it. I haven`t read the books, but I thought he was solid and now I’m wondering wtf he’s going to do. Maybe it’s just me, but I got undercurrents of a character more deep than a lovesick puppydog. What with his choices to play his reality show character, there`s more to him for sure.

    I am choked that Wes Bentley didn’t make it though. i want to see more of that actor. I thought he had a story to tell, that guy.

    As to the violence: you don`t see much of it, and what you do see if quickly edited, so it happens very fast…but imo opinion, the brutality of that world came through, esp, when the game started…if it were me, i`d think twice about bringing 7 and 8 year olds to it for that reason. There are worse movies out there, but I still think kids that age would be affected. I wouldn`t bring them to see it just yet. So no. 7 and 8 is far far too young.

    And not just because of the violence. It just doesn`t seem like a movie for that age. 12 or 13 would be my early cutoff.

    I think the ‘alliance’ that emerged during the games would be really scary to little kids.

    But it`s a real testament to the actors actually what they managed to convey amidst the violence. Maybe it was their age, but still, with what happened, I was like ‘s**t, man,that was awful’ when something happened to the kids. i was rooting for everyone.

    Lawrence is perfect for the role, imo. and I’d recommend people see Winter’s Bone…i can see why they chose her for the role…there are lots of her character there in this one.

    Although yeah, i didn’t get the idea that she was on the verge of starvation. On the other hand, she was apparently a good hunter, so i assumed she hunted well enough to feed enough. though, if enough people are starving and hunting, you’d think there wouldn’t a lot of animals left, but ummm dramatic license, i guess. i could overlook it.

    I didn’t get that she was a whiner at all. Bitter maybe about the games having to happen, messed up, arrogant…but NOT a whiner. She’s not a perfect character, but that would be boring anyway. I wondered about her political sensibility and I wasn’t sure what was goingon there, with the decision to salute the people of here district. It seemed like she didn’t want to have anything to do with politicis so i’m wondering how she’ll grow and if she’ll become like a leader of hte revolution or something…

    I want to see more about the uprising and the new? uprising. And where it goes.

    I disagree with comments about Snow. I thought he was creepy benevolent. he SEEMED nice, but then you realize, oh f***, he’s evil, like those charming racists that wouldn’t hesitate to plunge a knife in your back. Which he did, in a manner of speaking.

    • WillyNilly says:

      In the book, the hunger – for her – is not as well played out only as much as getting her family fed. She doesn’t really complain much about going hungry because hunting is a more of a routine for her and she’s able to trade with it. The hunger is played out more by her community.

      As for her character, that’s a pretty close assumption. She IS bitter, she hates the capitol and she’ll do whatever she can to stick up for victims of the games, and she trusts her instincts. But she’s not a genius and she is pretty naive about the politics involved with her revolt…that’s the only part about the books that I didn’t like – that even though she had no idea what she was doing, she was always lucky enough that everything worked out how she wanted to, which probably wouldn’t work in the real world.

      Good review. :)

      • cr says:

        “though, if enough people are starving and hunting, you’d think there wouldn’t a lot of animals left, but ummm dramatic license, i guess. i could overlook it.”

        haven’t seen the movie yet, but I thought in the books hunting is illegal, while not strictly enforced, they could enforce at anytime, and it wouldn’t be by a slap on the wrist.
        (My copy is lent out and so can’t verify this)

    • Tiffany says:

      I was thinking about the other comments about Snow as well d.The man had Seneca locked in a room for him to kill himself. Yeah, he has plans and they will not be golly.

  26. Kaz says:

    Excellent reporting, Celebitchy. I had to Google two words. The writing was some of the best I’ve seen on this site.

    Also, excellent movie. I saw it on opening day and may see again.

  27. hollah says:

    Loved it! I’m not a movie person and go to the theater maybe once a year, but I would see this one again. I am a fan of the books though.

    I loved those lime green dining room chairs too.

  28. Angel says:

    I have to agree with Kaz — exceptional review and great writing, here. As for the movie, I can’t wait to see it!

  29. MsJAPrufrock says:

    All this makes me feel old.

  30. Nessie says:

    Wow for someone who hasn’t read the book or seen the movie I’m surprised at all the raving reviews.

    Would anyone be so kind to explain to me what the attraction is to this story? Teens hunting teens sounds terrible to me and I wonder why these primitive instincts are so appealing to young people and even adults.

    Sorry I don’t mean to sound condescending in any way, I’m just curious why it’s such a success. Thanks in advance for your replies!

    • d says:

      well, imo, the movie does a pretty good job of conveying exactly that, that it IS terrible for children to be killing children. it doesn’t really glorify, you see what happens, if you’re at all a decent person, you’re horrified by it.

      the main character is horrified by it, the riots occur because people are angered by it, and some ofthe other characters themselves also convey their distaste for the people that DO enjoy it.

      i found the movie to be as much a comment about the popularity of reality shows AND about society’s range of reactions to them.

      it is a comment about how horrible a society has become and what some people do to try and change that.

      i sort of feel the same way as you about shows like SVU and the like, like why is such awfulness against people entertainment.

      but i think the reason characters like Katniss are popular is beause she stands against that popularity of such awfulness in society, she’s a lightning rod for something to happen and for things to change, for people to say “enough”.

      there are many layers to the movie, or to how you can view this movie and to me, a mark of success in a movie is if it generates discussion.

      So imo, the comemnts about what a great movie it is aren’t applauding the violence and brutal nature/themes, as they are about how the movie does a good job about commenting on that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s even subversive, but you do have themes of good and bad, of right and wrong, and the movie does side with the good guys. it’s about doing the right thing, even if it’s scary, it’s about being strong, even when you’re scared, it’s about standing up against authorities when you think they’ve gone too far.

      So in a way, your reaction is right in line with those characters, esp. the main character. She doesn’t like the violence, she tries to protect the younger children, she gets angry at the brutality and for needless death for entertainment.

      and i really do think, even as an oldie adult viewing a junior lit movie, it’s totally a film for its time, what with all the reality shows, cameras everywhere, human despair being sold as entertainment, etc., etc.

      am not saying you have to watch it or to like it. that’s still your choice!

      but, the subversive part may just be, in the capital world of that movie, you WOULD have to like, and you WOULDN’T have choice.

      • phlyfiremama says:

        d, very well said! (*applause) I took my 13 y/o Niece (who I have taken to all the Twilight movies) AND my tough guy Husband who would not have been caught DEAD inside of a Twilight movie and all 3 of us loved the movie. I got her the book on the way home~ Thankfully, she much more prefers THG Katniss to Bella. My Husband & I had already read the 1st book, and I will be tracking down Catching Fire ASAP at my local small-business bookstore. Katniss does what she has to do to survive, Bella shrivels up when her precious sparkles isn’t there to hold her up. A HUGE difference, and really do you WANT your Daughters/Sisters/ Nieces/Aunts/Mothers to be Katniss or Bella? GO SEE THIS MOVIE. As a society, we are not that far away from devolving to this~

      • Nessie says:

        Thank you for your elaborate reply. It does make more sense because of what’s behind the story of the hunting; those themes are popular no matter what.
        However, I don’t think it’s for me because of the setting and the way it’s portrayed, but I understand better why people would like it so much….

    • Jen Wind says:

      The idea of children killing children is not appealing to anyone, but they are not doing it because they want to, they are doing it because they are forced to. The undertone of the book is that the goverment is forcing this on them to keep the rebels from uprising again.

      Katniss only goes in to save her little sister. She has spent her whole life taking care of and protecting her, so this is her motivation.

      It is hard subject matter, but it is a well thought out process that really encompasses way more than kids killing kids. It’s about people fighting back, people taking back thier lives, and one girl that would do anything to protect her family. That is waht Katniss does through all the books, she works to protect those that she loves, it’s her motivation.

      They are really good books, and the movie is fantastic.

    • cr says:

      My question to you would be: What sort of escapism to you use?
      My escapism can tend toward dystopian fiction, police procedural novels, stuff where there may be violence, but hopefully not violence for violence sakes (not like Hostel or Saw). I don’t do much ‘happy’ stuff.
      There’s violence in THG trilogy, but there is a point to it.
      If that’s not your type of escapism then you might not like THG trilogy. But, I’d say give it a shot, you can get a copy from the library, and if you don’t like it you can always stop reading and return the book.

      • Nessie says:

        Thank you for your reply. In answer to your question, my escapism are period drama’s. Wayyyyy different than THG and even though I now understand what it’s about and what the attraction is, I think the setting is too futuristic and far off for me.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      The annual “Hunger Games” is a form of punishment for the (impoverished) Districts that had the audacity to question the Capitol.

      An annual selection of 1 male and 1 female “tribute,” aged 12 to 18, from each District, to “punish” said Districts for their rebellion against The Capitol’s authority is conducted as a “reminder” to each District that the Capitol is not to be “f’d” with.

      It’s a televised live event (even for those [most] Districts that don’t have consistent electricity;) required viewing, to inflict consistent and un-avoidable punishment and as a blatant show of authority.

  31. Lini says:

    I’ve seen it four times already. It’s a perfect adaptation and an amazing movie in my opinion . Can’t wait for Catching Fire!

  32. Kel says:

    I wonder how many little girls will be named Katniss in the coming years? (think Madison from ‘Splash’ if you’re old enough to remember!)

  33. Chris says:

    I really liked Jenifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone so it’s good to see someone who actually has talent headlining a blockbuster. With all these movies based on YA books raking in so much money in book sales and movies rights I can see a lot of budding writers trying their hands at writing YA.

    • Pilar says:

      Chris, exactly my thoughts. Its great to see a young actress who not only has the looks but great talent also. I think she will have a great career. She has already proven she can do it in non franchise movies. She was superb in winters bone.

  34. Lara says:

    I saw it with my daughter and we both loved it. The movie is well-done and well-acted. Jennifer Lawrence is my kinda girl. No drama. She is a great-looking young woman, who is obviously intelligent and reasonable. She has a great career ahead.

  35. Rachael says:

    I have seen this twice already, haha. The first time I saw it, I was having trouble forming an opinion of it because I was spending too much time being annoyed at things they left out from the book that I thought were important. So then I watched it again a couple days later, minus all my preconceived expectations (since I already knew what made it in and what didn’t), and it worked wonders for me. LOVED it the second time. I still have some issues with the last 20 minutes or so (had to be sanitized for the PG-13 rating), BUT, even that stuff played better for me the second time around.

    I thought J-Hutch pulled it off quite well as Peeta. Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and Stanley Tucci were all AWESOME. And Jennifer Lawrence … holy … wow. This girl was born to play Katniss. The scene with Cinna right before she has to get into that tube thingy to be put into the arena … when she’s all shaking and freaking out … DAMN dude. She is like an acting prodigy or something.

  36. TheOriginalVictoria says:

    Can’t get into this. BR was everything to me that this wants to be. But then again I have a hard on for that shitfest Twilizzle so THG gets no hate from me!

  37. aud says:

    I loved the movie.

    I was really concerned before seeing it. I love Jennifer Lawrence, but she has a huge presence in interviews and such. I was worried she would be almost too powerful for Katniss, who is a bit of an unintentional hero. But she was perfect in the role. She never looked too large or powerful to be Katniss, she played the part well. Katniss takes a while to acknowledge and accept the power she has and Jennifer showed that.

    I was also worried by how short Josh is, he’s shorter than Jennifer. But they did a good of matching them up so he never seemed too small to make an impact or be attractive to the audience.

    I really wish they would have made the film 20-30 min longer though. The cave scene was abrupt despite it being huge in the book. It’s when katniss starts falling for Peeta and he shows that it isn’t an act. They cut it so short. The alliance with Rue was also brief, a bit more bonding would have meant a lot.

    Otherwise, fantastic film. I’m excited to go see it again in a couple days with friends. But I couldn’t wait that long, had to go today. Can’t wait to see the next film, can’t believe how long we have to wait though : (

  38. aang says:

    my kids, 13 and 11 will skip these books/movies for now. i understand the social commentary but it is just too disturbing. i read the long walk as a tween and was very disturbed. i have no desire to make them prematurely cynical and try to guide them to books/movies with uplifting messages about humanity. someone has to have hope for a better future instead of just giving in to a society based on voyeurism and cruelty. prescriptive rather than descriptive is my philosophy for children of this age.

  39. A says:

    Only two gripes about the movie: 1. the action sequence, specifically the way they were shot – very shaky, was TERRIBLE!!! You can’t see clearly what’s happening [perhaps on purpose to convey the 'Reality' aspect or PG-13 content] but it was headache inducing. 2. as some have said before, Peeta’s character development was cut to the point where it almost made the character be more ‘needy’/less than the way he was portrayed in the book.

    Overall, satisfied fan but it wasn’t AN AMAZING movie. Yes, great cast, especially to all the leads, especially JH, WH, Stanley Tucci and LK. Despite what I said of Peeta above, I do give kudo to Josh H. for making do — it’s more the script/content that I have problem with.

    I hope Part II & III will improve on these points.

  40. Maya says:

    What a bugger…yet another film franchise, which means more books to read -maybe.
    Then again, I’ll just see the film (I spent two months over my semester break reading the entire Game of Thrones series). The trailer looks good and I’m glad the story isn’t focused on a dreary female protagonist bordering on the submissive side, who falls in love with a sparkling vampire.

  41. aenflex says:

    Not enough exposition in the begining. The contrast between life in the district and life in the capitol wasn’t there. Otherwise kick-ass, even though Katniss is supposed to be brown, JL did indeed deliver. She’s great.

  42. aquarius64 says:

    I am Katniss, hear me roar….

  43. Holden says:

    Was it better than Running Man?

  44. HG Fan says:

    it’s really not surprising that HG raked in so much this weekend, there’s so much about it that appeals to a broad audience, especially younger folks who are most likely to go to the movies over the wekend

  45. nordicgoddess says:

    imo jl was a total miscast and that distracted me from the story. she’s statuesque but nothing like the starving, tanned and hollow cheeked katniss. her face was way too full, and had no chemistry with peeta. the two boys should’ve switched roles. also hated the shaky-cam. pro: the supporting cast was awesome!