The Hunger Games Will Be Bigger Than Twilight
For Christmas, my lovely wife gave me a Kindle Fire. Because I’ve been trying to ease myself back into reading on a more consistent basis, I decided to give the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins a try. The books were highly recommended by a couple of friends, I was promised they were light reads, and (thanks to Amazon Prime’s lending library) they were 100% free. Once I started, I couldn’t put the books down until I was all the way through the trilogy. I’d characterize the writing as what I call “popcorn” (light and easy to consume). The books are written like a movie, with the action moving rapidly from one chapter to the next. Not surprisingly, the first book in the trilogy, The Hunger Games, has been turned into a movie and will be released in theatres on March 23.
I have yet to meet a person who hasn’t praised the books. In fact, The Hunger Games seems to have achieved the rare feat of appealing to a wide audience of men and women, teenagers and adults. The wide variety of people who enjoy the books leads me to believe that The Hunger Games will be bigger than the Twilight series.
I should admit that it would give me pleasure if this turns out to be true. Not because I’m related to Suzanne Collins or anyone involved in The Hunger Games movie, but because I hate Twilight. I hate everything about it. I hate that a series of books that everyone agrees is crap has spawned a wildly successful series of movies that everyone agrees are also crap. The reason for this success is not a mystery. It’s teenage girls. Teenage girls have tremendous purchasing power (as well as tremendously poor taste). And my extensive research (read: none) into what teenage girls like tells me that they will get behind the Hunger Games. Here’s my reasoning:
Teenage girls like the following:
In the Twilight series, the love triangle between the main character and her two male suitors was hugely popular, as evidenced by the ubiquitous merchandising spinoffs: Team Jacob and Team Edward posters, t-shirts, and websites were/are everywhere.
The Hunger Games books also feature a love triangle, between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. This was the most annoying part of the books as far as I’m concerned, but I’m sure teenage girls will eat it up.
In Twilight, Kristen Stewart, as Bella, became a superstar overnight.
The Hunger Games also features a female protagonist, Katniss Everdeen (played by relative unknown Jennifer Lawrence). She also kicks ass in the books.
Attractive Actors and Actresses
The Twilight movies starred Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Robert Pattinson. I hadn’t heard of any of these bozos before the Twilight movies were released, and now they can’t keep their faces off of GQ.
The Hunger Games features Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. The proper response to that sentence is “Huh?” Just wait. By the end of 2012, you won’t be able to buy groceries without being bombarded with their faces.
Twilight’s entire story is focused around wolves (I think). I thought I was going to make it all the way through the Hunger Games books without wolves, but then, unexpectedly, toward the end a bunch of wolves show up. Obviously Suzanne Collins recognizes that wolves are central to selling books to teenage girls.
I’m confident that with these elements in place, the Hunger Games is primed to capture a solid portion of the teenage girl audience. The key, though, is making the movie bigger than Twilight, no small feat considering all of the Twilight movies made over $400 million worldwide. To do this, the movie must also bring in the male audience.
Through my extensive research into what guys like (read: I am one!), I can tell you we like the following things:
The entire basis of the hunger games involves a fight to the death among 24 people. That means we’re guaranteed at least 23 kills right off the bat. Having read the book, I know some of those kills are awesomely brutal.
All the killing wouldn’t be much fun without some sweet explosions. I can happily report that there are at least two awesome explosions in The Hunger Games. One involves fireballs and the other landmines. All of this should translate well to the big screen.
Jennifer Lawrence is hot. You’ll like watching her kill people. I promise.
Woody Harrelson as a Drunk
One of my favorite comedic characters of all time is Woody Harrelson in Kingpin, which proved that he is capable of playing a great drunk. In the Hunger Games, Harrelson plays the role of Haymitch, a character who basically spends the entire book in a puddle of his own vomit.
Now all of my well-reasoned arguments could be rendered moot if the movie sucks. That’s a real possibility. However, with all of the above elements in play, I’m hopeful they can pull it off.
So what do you think? Did you enjoy reading the Hunger Games books? Are you looking forward to the movie? Do you think it has any chance to become a bigger phenomenon than Twilight? Let me know in the comments!