Following up on Cole’s latest post, here’s a link to the NYTimes‘ business-section report on “How Hunger Games Built Up Must-See Fever“:
…“This book is on junior high reading lists, but kids killing kids, even though it’s handled delicately in the film, is a potential perception problem in marketing,” he said.
One morning, he floated a radical idea: what about never showing the games at all in the campaign? Some team members were incredulous; after all, combat scenes make up more than half the movie. “There was a lot of, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t see how we can manage that,’ ” Mr. Palen recalled.
Eventually, he prevailed. “Everyone liked the implication that if you want to see the games you have to buy a ticket,” he said. Boundaries were also established involving how to position plot developments; in the movie, 24 children fight to the death until one wins, but “we made a rule that we would never say ‘23 kids get killed,’ ” Mr. Palen said. “We say ‘only one wins.’ ” The team also barred the phrase “Let the games begin.”
“This is not about glorifying competition; these kids are victims,” Mr. Palen said. A few months later, when a major entertainment magazine planned to use “Let the Games Begin” as the headline on a “Hunger Games” cover, Ms. Fontaine, traveling in London, frantically worked her cellphone until editors agreed to change it…
Apart from the standard gimmickry (social media, maaaaan!), seems like the goal is to position the teenage heroine’s adventures as halfway between Harry Potter (uniquely qualified hero undergoes arduous training for their quest to destroy the tribe-threatening monster) and Bella Swann of Twilight (blossoming teenager’s awakening sexuality introduces her to a world larger than both her dreams & her imagination). I haven’t read the books (yet), so I don’t know how true to the written word this megabudget adaptation is, but the story outlines have a ancient and more-or-less respectable lineage.
Reading all your comments made me wonder, though — do modern teenagers still read the foundational YA – Sci Fi/Fantasy stalwarts of the 1950s/60s, Andre Norton and Robert A. Heinlein’s pre-1960 novels?