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Commentary: Box office results show audiences hungry for ‘Hunger Games,’ sequels

Courtesy of MCT

The unexpected box-office slaying of “The Hunger Games,” which grossed an estimated $155 million domestically over the weekend, putting it firmly underneath “The Dark Knight” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” has unceremoniously silenced all “Twilight” fanatics.

The film also took the crown for the highest opening for a non-sequel film in history and for a non-summer release.

As a recent fan of the trilogy, I had less time to get acclimated to the books and get to know more about the older, loyal fans, and I’ve discovered they’re a lot different from so-called “Twihards” and “Potterheads.” Many fans I’ve heard from via Twitter and Tumblr have expressed a lot of reluctance at seeing their favorite book on screen. I expected this to be somewhat detrimental to the film’s success. That wasn’t the case, however.

I assumed the film would do pretty well, but nowhere near the level of success it is enjoying. The fact that Hollywood didn’t screw up the amazing novel is a testament to Suzanne Collins, the author of the trilogy. From the opening scene to the last glare from President Snow, the movie was done brilliantly and with so much unnerving passion.

Many die-hard fans were concerned about the PG-13 rating because the basis of the book is all about violence against underage kids. But the scenes within the arena were artistically rendered and showed just enough to make the audience cringe in their seats. The simple snap of a 15-year-old’s neck or the blood-soaked hands of a tearful Katniss Everdeen are enough to make an entire theater of people gasp or wipe away a few tears of their own.

The monumental triumphs of the first film will, without a doubt, pave the way for an even better and more massive sequel, “Catching Fire.” Fans of the film that haven’t read the series can expect double the violence, more tears, a world in turmoil and an extremely unexpected ending that opens up a million questions. After seeing the first numbers for “Hunger Games,” I predict the second and third (and possibly fourth) films will surpass even the almost unbeatable Harry Potter franchise.

A big reason for this is because of how relatable the “Hunger Games” trilogy is to all age groups. “Twilight” is too teen-centric and vapid. The “Harry Potter” series is a bit too long and complicated to start out of nowhere. The Millennium trilogy is strictly for adults and a little hard to read because of its plot location. “Hunger Games” has all the elements of these aforementioned series: a tragic love triangle, a large-scale war, violence against minors and a strong female lead.

Jennifer Lawrence is the new film franchise’s money-maker, and as long as she’s convincing, the series will continue to flourish on-screen. She’s much more convincing as a heroine than others such as “Twilight’s” Bella Swan. Other franchises need to be wary of this juggernaut – it’s coming for your fans.

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