When the receipts are tallied for
If it delivers as expected, "Catching Fire" will buck the recent trend in which films based on young adult books have fizzled.
In the last 18 months, Hollywood adaptations of "Ender's Game," "Beautiful Creatures," "Mortal Instruments,"
So why is the "Hunger Games" different?
Like these movies, the "Hunger Games" films are based on a very popular literary franchise. But not all bestsellers are created equal — the
Collins' dystopian trilogy, which depicts a heroine coerced into a brutal kill-or-be-killed competition, has appealed to males and females alike, which isn't always the case in the young adult genre.
Collins' work also appeals to older audiences, giving it an edge over many other young-adult other properties. "Many of these [other] books are big sellers to children but they're not known by adults," said Diane Roback, children's book editor at the trade publication Publishers Weekly. "So when these [other books] come to theaters, for a lot of the audience they're really like new properties."
Still, just because a book is a hit with a broad spectrum of readers doesn't always mean it will find success on screen. Other mega-bestsellers such as
To make sure adult filmgoers are interested in "The Hunger Games," studio Lionsgate has brought on pedigreed older actors, including
One of the film's younger actresses believes the franchise's more mature orientation has caused her generation to latch on too.
"I think [young filmgoers] have been hungry to be treated like adults for a while," said
The young-adult category has generally been difficult for producers. While all movies offer a fair amount of risk, young-adult films, say those who make them, yield a unique challenge.
"With a YA movie, if you don't connect with a core audience, you often have nowhere else to go," said Andrew Kosove, principal at Alcon Entertainment and producer of "Beautiful Creatures," a romantic fantasy that grossed just $19 million at the domestic box office last winter. "It's the narrowest kind of green. If you miss, you're in the water or a bunker."
Kosove, whose producing credits include hits such as
The new "Hunger Games" is also given a boost by its emergent star,
Though "Catching Fire" is now destined to become a blockbuster, it was only a little over a year ago that the fate of the project looked uncertain. Shortly after the first movie became a hit in spring 2012, director Gary Ross opted out, prompting a furious scramble to replace him. Producers eventually settled on Francis Lawrence, who, as the director primarily known for the
Despite the struggles of the YA category, the movie business is going back for more: In February, Lionsgate will release "Divergent," another hot dystopian property it hopes will follow in the footsteps of "The Hunger Games."
With the next "Hunger Games" movie,
Not right now, said Heather Duval, a 23-year-old fan from New Hampshire.
"It was 'Harry Potter,' then 'Twilight,' and now 'Hunger Games," said Duval, who traveled to Los Angeles for the "Catching Fire" premiere Monday. "Nothing will top this until it ends. There can only be one object of our fandom at a time."