19/03/2012 | Entertainment
Seek shelter Hollywood vampires and wizards, there's a new movie in town looking to raise the stakes on what it means to be a film franchise in an era when "Harry Potter," "Twilight" and superhero films dominate box offices.
Seek shelter Hollywood vampires and wizards, there's a new movie in town looking to raise the stakes on what it means to be a film franchise in an era when "Harry Potter," "Twilight" and superhero films dominate box offices. "The Hunger Games," based on the first novel in a best-selling trilogy by author Suzanne Collins, sees 24 children known as 'tributes' fight to the death in an annual televised event across the nation of Panem, built on the ruins of America. The novels follow the story of one tribute, Katniss Everdeen, portrayed in the film that opens on Friday by Jennifer Lawrence, who becomes a beacon of hope for freedom against Panem's totalitarian government. "She is a warrior for her people, a Joan of Arc, she's a fighter," Lawrence told Reuters about her character. "I wanted to bring out more of her vulnerability when she was in the Games. I didn't want anybody to forget that she could die at any minute. I never wanted that to slip from the movie." "The Hunger Games" trilogy is the latest series of novels to become a Hollywood movie franchise, following on the heels of the $2.8 billion box office success of the four "Twilight" films, based on Stephanie Meyer's vampire romance novels. The final film, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" is due in theaters later this year. Warner Bros. Studios' big screen adaptations of J. K. Rowling's juggernaut collection of "Harry Potter" novels took in an estimated $7.7 billion with eight films across the worldwide box office, the largest-grossing franchise in history. The film series ended last year. "The Hunger Games" has already built a fan base among a wide group of readers, although young women make up the core fans. The books boast more than 2 million friends on Facebook and almost 300,000 followers on Twitter, all discussing the film ahead of its release. And all eyes in Hollywood are on Lionsgate, the studio distributing the films, to see if it can turn in the next big franchise on the order of the "Potter" and "Twilight movies."