Looking to get into the branded and live-event biz that has been so good to franchises like Harry Potter, Lionsgate announced Friday it is launching “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” and will tour it around the U.S.
The tour will include a range of material from and concerned with the Jennifer Lawrence franchise -- “interactive displays of authentic costumes, props and other elements” from the Katniss smashes as well as “artifacts featured in the…films from locations within the Capitol and the various Districts of Panem.”
The extension is being designed in conjunction with live-event company Thinkwell and aims to be in “major museums and institutions across the country.”
Lionsgate has also hired Thinkwell’s Jennifer Brown to the newly created post of senior vice president, branded attractions, which will have her “explor[ing] additional theme park attraction and other location-based entertainment opportunities” for “Hunger Games” and various Lionsgate properties.
There’s a strategic logic to the move. A number of bigger studios see major revenue and easy synergies with rides tied to movies and movies stemming from rides -- Disney and Universal have been mining this for years, the latter not just with its own films but with dedicated parks such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, licensed from Warner Bros. Though a mid-major, Lionsgate wants in on the action too.
“Now that we’ve built a critical mass of intellectual property, we’re committed to extending our brands into exciting new businesses that create opportunities for our fans to engage with our properties at the same time they deliver significant incremental financial benefits to Lionsgate,” Tim Palen, the company's chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
Of course, “Hunger Games” is pretty dark stuff, so it will be interesting to see what the company chooses to incorporate, and how it does so--there’s a limit to how much killing in the Arena you can simulate in a presumably family-oriented attraction.
Also, will enough people care about “The Hunger Games” to turn out to an extension like this.
A third movie is on its way in November, and like the two previous titles, it will doubtless be hugely popular, but it's still a far cry from "Potter"-level popularity.
We’ll see about odds and favor and all of that next summer, when the tour kicks off.