‘Hunger Games’ comes to big screen

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With the Harry Potter series drawn to a satisfying close and the Twilight movies finally coming to a bitter, sparkling end, Hollywood is in need of a new franchise to headline.

What’s needed is a new series that can decimate at the box office. It doesn’t appear moviemakers had to look far for the answer: Suzanne Collins survival trilogy “The Hunger Games” might be it.

The novel catches people off guard with the darkness of its universe.

Set in a dystopian future, a corrupt and evil government employs a cruel means of controlling the population. Each year the 12 districts of Panem, which sits where North America once did, send two “tributes” to fight to the death in the annual “Hunger Games.”

Twenty-four teens are sent to play. Only one survives.

Collins’ story centers around 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen. Katniss takes her sister Primrose’s place when the 12-year-old is selected during her first “reaping.”

Katniss volunteers as tribute in her little sister’s place.

The plot may sound similar to earlier books such as Stephen King’s “The Running Man” or Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale.”

All deal with strikingly similar dystopian worlds and the sick means of entertainment instituted.

Collins’ books reached popularity because they are aimed squarely aimed at young adult readers, with the principal cast being all teens to young adults.

That and the games itself remind the reader more of “First Blood” than “Smash TV” giving the story enough uniqueness to keep it fresh.

Ever since the Harry Potter series destroyed Box Office numbers with each successive movie every film studio has been raiding the young-adult fantasy section of bookstores.

In the span of five years we’ve seen “Percy Jackson,” “His Dark Materials,” “The Seeker,” “The Last Airbender,” “Cirque Du Freak,” “Eragon” and the “Chronicles of Narnia.”

Sadly, with the exception of “Narnia” these attempts either failed at the Box Office with marketing unable to distinguish the property. Or the movies were critically panned as quick cash grabs, probably because the flicks were quick cash grabs.

“The Hunger Games” is expected to be a massive hit, thus being the first one of the year, with box office analysts predicting at least $80 million dollars in the first weekend.

If it does well, the movie will earn back what it cost to make in one weekend.

Lionsgate, the studio producing the film, has so much faith in the new franchise that the sequel “Catching Fire” is already a go.

Check it out for yourself starting today. And see what you think.