The first of Suzanne Collins‘ young adult thriller novel trilogy, The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), is set in the not-so-distant future and North America has collapsed, replaced by Panem, a country divided into the capital and 12 districts.
As a bizarre punishment for a past uprising and a tactic to continually intimidate the vassal states, the new government forces each of the 12 districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in “The Hunger Games,” in which the participants must set out to literally eliminate each other.
The story revolves around Katniss, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right), one of the younger competitors from District 12, who must face other participants from other districts, including Cato, played by Alexander Ludwig (Race to Witch Mountain). The duo have to deal with impossible choices and seemingly impossible odds in order to survive and return home.
Since the movie premiered globally on March 23, it has set a number of box office records. It brought in US$155 million in its opening weekend, making it the highest-earning movie ever released in a non-holiday season, as well as the highest-grossing film ever made by Lionsgate.
Ross’ strategy by not running astray, yet adding deeper layers to the book seems to be working wonders, as he manages to attract both loyal fans and newcomers alike.