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The Hunger Games

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Eight days later, The Hollywood Reporter claims an "exclusive" on the news of the Elfman-Burnett collaboration. Um, is there some new detail here that wasn't mentioned earlier?

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Since PTC's link has been removed, here's one that should be more permanent.

Why is this being released in March? That seems like an odd time to bring out the "next Harry Potter."

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the moral queasiness and ick factor of reading about teens killing other teens ended up outweighing the series' merits, but anywho...)

While I enjoyed the series, this has been my one issue with the story. Whenever anyone asks me of they're worth reading, this is my one warning. She loses sight of the true villain, the government, and settles to turn fellow children who are in the same situation as Katniss, into the villains. The "career" tributes that are so hated are still victims of the government.

Have you read Mockingjay? I had a similar reaction as you did to the first two books, but the third one expands the scope and refocuses on the real evil in the Panem world.

I'm nearing the end of Catching Fire. It started out great, an improvement on the first novel, but I've pretty much lost interest at this point. I'll finish it up in the next couple of days. Not sure I'll bother with Mockingjay.

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the moral queasiness and ick factor of reading about teens killing other teens ended up outweighing the series' merits, but anywho...)

While I enjoyed the series, this has been my one issue with the story. Whenever anyone asks me of they're worth reading, this is my one warning. She loses sight of the true villain, the government, and settles to turn fellow children who are in the same situation as Katniss, into the villains. The "career" tributes that are so hated are still victims of the government.

Have you read Mockingjay? I had a similar reaction as you did to the first two books, but the third one expands the scope and refocuses on the real evil in the Panem world.

I'm nearing the end of Catching Fire. It started out great, an improvement on the first novel, but I've pretty much lost interest at this point. I'll finish it up in the next couple of days. Not sure I'll bother with Mockingjay.

Mockingjay is good for a while, but then it just keeps going. Eventually, it felt like Katniss was like Jack Bauer on the last few seasons of 24.

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Tyler wrote:

: Why is this being released in March? That seems like an odd time to bring out the "next Harry Potter."

That's a good question. Apart from animated films, the best opening weekends in March have been:

  • Alice in Wonderland (2010) -- $116,101,023 -- final cume $334,191,110
  • 300 (2007) -- $70,885,301 -- final cume $210,614,939
  • Watchmen (2009) -- $55,214,334 -- final cume $107,509,799
  • Wild Hogs (2007) -- $39,699,023 -- final cume $168,273,550
  • 10,000 B.C. (2008) -- $35,867,488 -- final cume $94,784,201

And the top three results there were arguably cartoons in their own way, which is not, based on the teaser, what Hunger Games seems to be.

Oh, and of the Top 30 opening weekends in March, 22 went to live-action films, and only 11 of THOSE grossed $100 million or more in North America before all was said and done. (That's a somewhat convoluted formulation, but only because I can't find a simple list of top-grossing movies released in March, only of top opening weekends in March. And I can't rule out the possibility that some film that opened to less than $24.6 million -- the opening that currently ranks #30 -- might have had strong-enough legs to carry it past the century mark. But would a movie with a strong built-in fanbase like Hunger Games necessarily show those kinds of legs? Doubtful, given how the Harry Potter movies tended to open huge and drop fast; these kinds of franchises tend to be quite front-loaded. So if it's going to be a big hit, it's got to hit big in its opening weekend -- and only a few live-action films have done that in March.)

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the moral queasiness and ick factor of reading about teens killing other teens ended up outweighing the series' merits, but anywho...)

While I enjoyed the series, this has been my one issue with the story. Whenever anyone asks me of they're worth reading, this is my one warning. She loses sight of the true villain, the government, and settles to turn fellow children who are in the same situation as Katniss, into the villains. The "career" tributes that are so hated are still victims of the government.

Have you read Mockingjay? I had a similar reaction as you did to the first two books, but the third one expands the scope and refocuses on the real evil in the Panem world.

I'm nearing the end of Catching Fire. It started out great, an improvement on the first novel, but I've pretty much lost interest at this point. I'll finish it up in the next couple of days. Not sure I'll bother with Mockingjay.

Mockingjay is good for a while, but then it just keeps going. Eventually, it felt like Katniss was like Jack Bauer on the last few seasons of 24.

Ugh. I finished Catching Fire this morning. Good beginning, and a decent ending, but it's one long slog in between. I think I'll try to listen to Mockingjay, just to finish off the series, but I'm not very excited about it.

I do think there's fertile ground here for a great movie series, but only if the filmmakers concentrate on Katniss vs. the President (or government), and don't get so caught up in the intricacies of the games. I realize that sounds wrong, and fans would never stand for it, but I think the situation and environment of Panem is more interesting than are the details of the competition(s).

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Oh joy. I was HOPING we`d get some more orange and teal (with, admittedly, the occasional garish slap of pink).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fye5Nwe4qeI

Not bad! Maybe these movies will be decent after all. (Although the preview gives away the set-up -- how Katniss ends up in the games

instead of her sister

, which is one of the more dramatic moments in the novel.)

Edited by Christian

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As a person who's heard a lot of the hype but has never set out to read the books, that trailer was pretty darn captivating. I'm sold.

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Not bad! Maybe these movies will be decent after all. (Although the preview gives away the set-up -- how Katniss ends up in the games

instead of her sister

, which is one of the more dramatic moments in the novel.)

Yes, but you find that out at the end of chapter 1, so it's not a huge spoiler.

One of the limiting things about the books were that they were told in first-person (Katniss's POV) for the entire series, so you could only see a small part of the world. A few shots in the trailer indicate they're coming at the story with a wider angle.

Edited by Tyler

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Yes, but you find that out at the end of chapter 1, so it's not a huge spoiler.

Right. I'm not sure how else you explain the set-up without, ya know, showing the set-up. Still, it's one of the more fond memories I have of these books, one of the few times I was caught off-guard and surprised in a good way. I was hoping moviegoers might share in that moment of early revelation -- but maybe that's because I didn't think so highly of most of the trilogy.

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As a person who's heard a lot of the hype but has never set out to read the books, that trailer was pretty darn captivating. I'm sold.

A friend who basically reads all the books his teen kids read (including all the Twilight books-which he read because a co-worker begged him to) said these were some of the best teen fiction books he has read.

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As a person who's heard a lot of the hype but has never set out to read the books, that trailer was pretty darn captivating. I'm sold.

A friend who basically reads all the books his teen kids read (including all the Twilight books-which he read because a co-worker begged him to) said these were some of the best teen fiction books he has read.

OK, gotta say it: I challenge anyone who thinks The Hunger Games is great teen fiction to read Sara Zarr's books. I realize the genres are different -- maybe I just prefer Sara's stories and approach to her material -- but the more I hear raves about The Hunger Games, the less interested I am in reading more teen fiction.

I have nothing against good stories well told, but I imagine The Hunger Games might be the equivalent of -- I don't know, Tom Clancy? -- in the teen lit world. Popular and with a strong fan base, but not necessarily great writing or storytelling.

I haven't read any teen lit outside of Sara's books and the Hunger Games series, so I may be wrong. But I'd love to hear from others who know more: Is The Hunger Games among the best teen lit?

Probably best to post replies to my question over in "Focus on YA Fiction" thread.

Edited by Christian

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I have nothing against good stories well told, but I imagine The Hunger Games might be the equivalent of -- I don't know, Tom Clancy? -- in the teen lit world. Popular and with a strong fan base, but not necessarily great writing or storytelling.

I haven't read any teen lit outside of Sara's books and the Hunger Games series, so I may be wrong. But I'd love to hear from others who know more: Is The Hunger Games among the best teen lit?

Tom Clancy as a comparison is fair enough in that there is a point at which the YA genre becomes a Mad Libs enterprise. The first book of Hunger Games is the best by a longshot (the last two steadily declining in quality), but even it relies on gathering together the typical survivalist, competition, parental loss, and adolescent romance themes that are so common in the genre. I read a lot of YA fiction and also appreciate authors like Zarr, Green, Sachar, Zuzak pushing back against the ease of the genre's bestsellers. There is a lot of poetry in YA fiction if you look for it.

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YA librarian here. M. Leary is correct. YA lit is just like adult literature: there's commercially popular lit and the more critically acclaimed stuff that gets awards. That's not to say award winning books don't sell well, they just don't have the pop culture presence of the Hunger Games or Harry Potter. Nor is it to say some award winning books aren't overrated. In addition to what Leary mentioned, My personal favorites I would recommend are Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, and Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy.

If you want a list of ALA's yearly acclaimed books, check out the Printz Awards. Also the National Teen Book Award, the one which Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl was nominated for.

Okay...that said, the trailer looks great! Honestly, they pull me in and give pictures to a lot of things that were vague in the book to me. I can definitely see this being successful. It's just going to be annoying to go online and have to wade through Battle Royale fans yelling rip off. Good night people.

Edited by Evan Day

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It's just going to be annoying to go online and have to wade through Battle Royale fans yelling rip off. Good night people.

Ok, I won't then. But the word that was going through my mind when watching the trailer was "pastiche."

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It's just going to be annoying to go online and have to wade through Battle Royale fans yelling rip off. Good night people.

Ok, I won't then. But the word that was going through my mind when watching the trailer was "pastiche."

Well to be fair, I was thinking of the book, guess I should have said that in the other forum thread. I certainly wouldn't deny the concept has been visited a lot, from A Most Dangerous Game to the Running Man (Collins herself refers to the myth of Theseus in interviews).

Regardless of the origins of book, the presentation of the movie could very well end up pastiche, we'll see.

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Tyler wrote:

: Is it normal to not have the music already in place 4 months before the release date?

I don't know about "normal", but it's not unprecedented. In fact, James Newton Howard himself took over the scoring of Peter Jackson's King Kong only TWO months before that film's release date (I blogged the news on that switcheroo here, here and here). That was an especially awkward case because the original composer, Howard Shore (who had also scored Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptation), had already appeared in a production diary on the making of the music about four weeks before he left the project, and Shore even has a cameo in King Kong as a pit-band conductor.

There was also a famous case in which James Horner replaced Gabriel Yared on Troy after test-screening audiences reacted badly to Yared's music. (Yared had been working on it for over a year, whereas Horner reportedly whipped up his score in four weeks... though I can't remember how far off the release date was when Horner was hired.)

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Is it normal to not have the music already in place 4 months before the release date?

Just saw this. 4 months is actually a relatively flexible amount of time for a composer. I can't find it right now, but in one of my film-scoring classes at Berklee, we watched a video of John Williams, in which Williams estimated his output at about three minutes of underscore a day. Say you're looking at a 70-minute score, and that the composer is working 7 days a week (which in crunch time is fairly common), and that's a little more than three weeks to write a score. While spotting for a score might overlap with production, the finished score is normally one of the last things completed in post-production. It's why you often hear temp-score music in theater-released trailers.

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I didn't go to any screenings for this, so I can readily admit that. At press day for another film it was interesting to hear some there not talking about this film. Apparently the embargo is very strict - can't even say you've been to a screening. No one would even mention the name as they talked about it. "The Film That Must Not Be Named"

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