Monday, November 19, 2012

Twilight over, next up, The Hunger Games!

It's been almost two months since Science Fiction, Double Feature, Part 1, when I concluded with a promise.
That's it for the first part of the science fiction double feature. The next installment will be about The Hunger Games.
As you can tell by the title not being Part 2, this isn't it. Instead, I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling.

First, here's the item from Overnight News Digest (Fast fill-in edition) that prompted this post.

Hollywood thirsts for young adult films as "Twilight" ends
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES | Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:46pm EST
(Reuters) - As vampires Bella and Edward take their last bites on the big screen, Hollywood studios are on the hunt for the next "Twilight," a movie that plays on teenage angst and, more importantly, lights up the movie box office.

The first four "Twilight" movies earned $2.5 billion at theaters worldwide, propelled by passionate fans of a book series about a vampire-and-werewolf teen love triangle. Box office watchers project "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" will haul in $150 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend, one of the year's biggest film debuts.

Eager to replicate that performance, studios executives have been trolling through young adult novels with the dream of uncovering the next big blockbuster franchise, paying as much as $1 million to secure the film rights to the hottest books.
As I wrote over at JournalFen, the next big thing has already begun, and it's The Hunger Games.
Executives hope they can uncover a story that excites tech-savvy teens, who supercharged the buzz mill for "The Hunger Games" and other hits by spreading the word to friends through social media posts.

"It's a very enthusiastic and deep passion that young people feel for a book they love," said Nina Jacobson, executive producer of "The Hunger Games," which spawned a blockbuster film franchise with $687 million in worldwide ticket sales this spring.

"When they love something, they share it," Jacobson said.

The four-year "Twilight" movie saga lifted tiny studio Summit Entertainment into Hollywood's big leagues and paved the way for its $412 million acquisition in January by Lions Gate Entertainment, the studio behind "The Hunger Games."

The coming young adult films incorporate paranormal themes like those in the "Twilight" movies or dark dystopian futures and battles for survival reminiscent of "The Hunger Games," and do it through the drama of young love.
They will battle the latest installments of existing young adult franchises such as the "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire" that comes out November 2013.
Just in time for Christmas, and possible Oscar consideration. Speaking of which, Jennifer Lawrence is being touted as an Oscar favorite, although for "Silver Linings Playbook" not "The Hunger Games."

There are other dystopias that the movie studios think will be the next big thing after that franchise plays out.
Lions Gate's Summit studio scooped up the rights before publication for "Divergent," a novel set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on personality traits. The studio is producing a movie for 2014 that features young Hollywood star Shailene Woodley, who played George Clooney's troubled daughter in the movie "The Descendants" last year.

The "Divergent" book series has sold more than 2 million copies, pacing ahead of both "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" at the same point in their histories, Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer told industry analysts on a November 9 conference call.

"We are putting out to our fans right now we think that this is the next big franchise," Feltheimer said.
Looks like Hollywood believes that worrying about collapse is good business. I wish segments other than entertainment had that same attitude.

Follow over the jump for more examples of reuse and recycle while I reduce the amount of original writing I do and refuse to write a real Part 2--for now.

It turns out I linked to a story that had a good summary of "The Hunger Games" in Ten American Dystopias from io9.
In a country whose ideal of success is often called "the American dream," there are plenty of nightmares too. The United States has its own particular brand of dystopia, full of religious thuggery, class warfare, and the spectre of slavery. Here are ten of the greatest dystopian stories ever created about America.
That's what I quoted. Here's the part I missed the first time.
10. The Hunger Games
This trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, soon to be a series of feature films, combine the most frightening aspects of Gamer and Julian Comstock. America has become an impoverished, resource-depleted country called Panem where most people starve on government rations and a few lucky elites live like royalty in the Capitol. Every year, a handful of young people are chosen to compete to the death in a televised ritual called The Hunger Games.
Why is this an American dystopia?
Set in what was once US territory, it is about our fears of economic collapse combined with a terror of how reality television can be used as a form of propaganda and torture.
I used to be a moderator of a web forum about Survivor and other reality TV shows. That past haunted me when I watched the movie.

Speaking of the movie haunting me, the web campaign freaked me out, too, as I wrote in a comment on N.Y. Mag's Vulture Blog.
That site creeps me out, all the way from the .pn top level domain name (Pitcairn Islands masquerading as Panem), through the authoritarian tone, down to the level of detail asked for when I register. If that's the intended effect, then it succeeds admirably.
Finally, here's a fake trailer that mocks the film, including the differences between the book and movie.
Or not. It doesn't embed any more. Too bad. Instead, here's the real trailer from the io9 article.

I'll get around to posting a real Part 2 either before the Oscars or the release of Catching Fire, whichever one inspires me more.

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