The #1 Reason the Hunger Games is a Hit at the Box Office

Posted on March 28, 2012


I think by now, we all know that the Hunger Games movie did pretty well.

The Hunger Games had the third best opening weekend of a movie– ever.  News articles list all the reasons for this amazing success: a group of fans made up of both girls and boys (according to The Hollywood Reporter, Friday night attendees were 39% male), strategic marketing, and of course, a movie that was actually really good.

I’m a little offended, though, because none of these journalists have cited the REAL reason the Hunger Games succeeded.  I think if scientific research were conducted, the Hunger Games success would be traced back to one catalyst: you. IMHO, the readers of this blog are the #1 reason that the Hunger Games hype caught on and spread!

The Beloved One Community last week

Last week, my blog stats crashed through the roof as Hunger Games fans from all over the world read the amazing guest posts on this blog.  Pinterest blew up with pins and repins of my husband’s post, and Facebook friends and friends of friends enjoyed cooking through the Hunger Games by sharing Victoria’s post on their timelines.  Multiple subscribers responded to the question of why we love a dystopic novel, and I even had a friend approach me in Starbucks, just dying to give me her opinion of Jennifer Lawrence after reading the two blog posts on the subject.

Last week was definitely the most fun I have ever had with my blog, and I woke up every day excited to share the newest guest post with you.

To put it simply, you rock.

So since we are the community of people responsible for the Hunger Games success (it’s a proven fact), let’s discuss the movie!!  I saw the movie with my sister PrimRose and my husband Erik, so I will share the pros and cons for each of us, as well as our basic Hunger Games profile (so that you know who to trust).





View of the book: For Erik’s thoughts on the book, see his post called Dystopian People.

Team Gale or Team Peeta: Team Gale. Peeta is the bread-eating wimp son of a baker who can’t keep up or take care of anyone (let alone himself) during the Hunger Games. Even though Peeta is a nice guy, Gale is by far the better choice for Katniss.

Overall Movie Rating: 8 out of 10

Pros of Movie:

The Countdown. The opening scene of the actual games did a great job of portraying the intensity and violence without being too gratuitous. In my opinion that was the hardest part of the whole movie to watch, but I think it was the most powerful critique of our culture watching children murder each other for entertainment (our entertainment). I had a pit in my stomach for the rest of the day.

Haymitch. Literally the first thing I said after the movie was that Woody Harrelson did an incredible job. He was exactly how I pictured Haymitch, and I loved that he could be both surly and likable. His character reminded me a lot of the one he played in the movie Bunraku, another awesome movie I suggest you check out.

– Cinna. I loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna although he didn’t really get a lot of screen-time. Not exactly how I pictured him, but the subtle notes to the book were awesome.

– The movie as a whole. It was very well done. Character development was awesome. The director could have gone the route of creating a flashy, teen movie but instead chose to stick to the grittiness of the book. I approve.

Cons of Movie:

The Capitol.  The architecture of the Capitol in the movie was very 1984ish, but from the books, I pictured the Capitol as a sparkling, pristine city city of the future with amazing architecture.  Instead, it was gray cement. Way too much cement. Subsequently it was boring.

The camerawork.  Did anyone else feel like they were going to get sick walking to the reaping? It was as if the camera people were having seizures as they tried to film. At one point, Katniss has a battle with a knife-wielding girl from District 2 and I literally had no idea what happened until the next scene (apparently she got hit in the forehead with a knife?). Totally missed that in the movie. For action shots it makes sense, but the whole movie? Really?

Time. This is merely a stylistic problem I had. In the book, waiting is a huge driving force for emotion (Katniss is from District 12 and because of that goes last for just about everything). In the movie, things happen very quickly. I understand that in a movie, it would have created scenes that felt like they were dragging, and you can’t have a 5 hour long movie. However, it gave the movie a slightly different feel.

President Snow. I think that Donald Sutherland is an incredible actor. I was actually excited he was President Snow, however, the movie doesn’t really give him much time to develop the character. In the book, Snow is evil. In the movie, you can’t really tell. Hopefully, there will be more development in the later movies.



View of the Book: See my blog post, And So it Begins: The Hunger Games.

Team Gale or Team Peeta: My first read, I loved Peeta and hated that Gale was so violent.  My second read, I realized that Katniss doesn’t really like Peeta and is constantly thinking of Gale, and at the end of the day, it’s her choice. Team Gale.

Overall Movie Rating: 8 out of 10

Pros of Movie: 

The reaping was extremely well done and was packed with all the emotions of the book.  Rose and I may or may not have cried, holding hands, when Prim tucked that little ducktail into her skirt as she prepared to march bravely to the stage.  I think that at the very beginning, the filmmakers set the stage for a movie that would be sad, tense, and full of struggle.

Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as Katniss.

Nods to the fans.  There were a lot of moments in the movies that non-book readers didn’t need/wouldn’t understand.   For example, I loved the split second when you saw Katniss chew out Buttercup, or the dash of gold eyeliner on Cinna. I also recognized almost every line, as it all came directly from the book.

Cons of Movie:

The Gamemakers.  In the movie, the Gamemakers are a plot device (“Now we’re sitting in a white room explaining what’s going on in case you are lost!”) and really provided nothing else.  At the very end, when Seneca Crane is presented with his bowl of nightshade berries, I felt nothing.  Shouldn’t I have cared that he was going to die? Seneca Crane’s beard was a more dynamic character than Seneca Crane.


By the way, the above picture was found on a facebook fan page for Seneca Crane’s Beard.

Time. You know that you have issues when you wish that every movie based on a book could be as long as the Lord of the Rings movies (extended editions).  I wanted more time with Prim, and WAY more time with Rue… *Sob* But didn’t we all!

The Trailer. To be 100% honest, I was expecting the movie to be awful.  Even though the movie is gritty, and far from flashy, it is still exciting and fun to watch.  The trailers make Jennifer Lawrence seem really wooden and made the movie look boring and slow.



View of the book: for Rose’s thoughts on the book, see her blog post, Is Jennifer Lawrence the Real Deal?

Team Gale or Team Peeta: That is an illegitimate question and if you’re really asking me that it means you are a Twilight fan. Go away. Editor’s Note: She’s Team Peeta.

Overall Movie Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Pros of Movie:

Characters: Josh Hutcherson did a great job as Peeta and was exactly as I pictured him.  Even though his hair had multiple personality disorder, he was sweet, likeable, and made Katniss a better person. Rue was perfect. I have never sobbed in a movie before, but when Rue died, I lost it.  They did a great job with her character, even though I wish they could have built up her relationship with Katniss a little more.  I also loved Cinna and Haymitch! Haymitch reminded me of one of my favorite TV characters of all time: Sawyer.

Perspective: It was a lot of fun getting to see outside of the arena during the games.  It actually made me like Gale more because I got to see him in the Seam, working hard and hurt by Katniss’ little love affair.

Cons of Movie:

The Mutts.  The dogs at the very end of the Hunger Games could have been so cool!!  I was really excited to see how they incorporated the tributes into scary, werewolf-like dogs.  It was so disappointing that the dogs were fairly normal looking except for their size.  Maybe they were trying to keep the rating PG-13, but in the book, those dogs were a lot more horrifying.  Imagine how they would have looked with the tributes’ eyes!

Inconsistencies with the book.  These include but are not limited to: Katniss’ costumes, the stupid mockingjay pin coming from the wrong place, the cornucopia (Farrell and I pictured a large, golden cornucopia), and Rue’s death.

It’s over. Part of me needs to see it again because it’s hard to remember everything.

Primrose acted too young and looked too old. I wanted more of a connection between Katniss and Primrose at the very beginning, and I just picture Primrose a lot more young and cute.


Now it’s your turn! Tell us below- what did you think of our analysis? And what are your pros and cons of the movie?

Posted in: So Relevant