The Hunger Games was a wildly successful book series that moved to the big screen in 2012. The equally successful film series grossed over $755 million in the box office, each of the movies ranking within the top 50 biggest opening weekends.
The Hunger Games, although not the first in the crazy adaptation trend, was one of the more noteworthy adaptations to be released after the not so noteworthy Twilight series and that terrible, awful Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.
The Hunger Games was also one of the first of the big series to be adapted that had a sympathetic female protagonist at its center, Katniss Everdeen, a girl whose story we follow from beginning to end in her eyes.
Just to frame how influential Katniss was, the popularity of archery sharply increased after the 2012 release of The Hunger Games.
It arguably even paved the way for more stories starring female protagonists to come to the forefront, such as the new Star Wars films.
The Hunger Games was the start of the dystopian trend as well. Movies like The Giver and the Divergent and Maze Runner series were released amid The Hunger Games series, taking advantage of dystopia’s popularity before the fad faded.
These movies catalyzed the adaptation trend, prompting release after release of film adaptations, primarily of books. The almost constant success of the synergistic release of books and movies has even prompted Hollywood agents to start working with book authors, solidifying potential deals in advance. Authors have begun tailoring their writing to make their work translate better on film.
Although this adaptation trend challenges the creativity aspect of the film and even the novel medium, the desirability is understandable because it almost always guarantees profitability. The only caveat with such a trend is a filmmaker’s ability to translate the source material. The dumbest thing you can do as a filmmaker is piss off the fanbase of a beloved book or book series.
Stay tuned for Part II for my evaluation of how well The Hunger Games movies were able to interpret the books.