USA TODAY wrote:'Hunger Games' devours the competition at box office
By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
The Hunger Games thundered to the third best debut in history this weekend, with $155 million, charging the box office and launching a franchise that could challenge the Twilight series.
Hunger's haul exceeded most analysts' highest expectations and marked a huge opening for a first-time film. Of the two films with bigger debuts, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 ($169.1 million) and The Dark Knight ($158 million), both are sequels.
The film, based on Suzanne Collins' popular trilogy and starring Jennifer Lawrence, broke from the gate at midnight Friday, earning $19.7 million and seventh place in the all-time midnight screening record books. Hallows remains the runaway champ, collecting $43.5 million in its midnight shows last year.
Still, Hunger mustered plenty to score the highest debut on record for March, besting Alice in Wonderland's $116.1 million.
Gitesh Pandya of Boxofficeguru says that teen fans of the 2008 novel propelled the hit. "A massive built-in audience has been hungry for this movie," he says.
In the long run, Pandya says, the Hunger trilogy could challenge the Twilight series by appealing to both genders.
"One major difference is that (Hunger) has more male appeal," he says, adding that distributor Lionsgate "has been emphasizing the action in its male-skewing TV spots, and the romance is a minor part of the story, anyway."
Males and females responded strongly to the film, promising a healthy run through March and much of April. A whopping 95% of moviegoers recommended the movie, according to survey site Rottentomatoes.com. Critics weren't far behind; 86% of reviewers gave it a thumbs-up, the site says.
The studio plans to release part two, Catching Fire, on Nov. 22, 2013. While details haven't been finalized on future installments, analysts say at least a three-part series is inevitable.
Hunger "is the first true event film of 2012," says Tim Briody of Boxofficeprophets.com. "This is largely unprecedented for any franchise, much less a new one. It's the sort of behavior you'd expect from a sequel, not the first entry in an unproven series."Hunger's numbers came despite the Sweet 16 tournament games of the NCAA basketball championship.
No studio challenged Hunger this weekend, leaving the top of the box office to holdovers.
The remake comedy 21 Jump Street took second with $21.3 million, followed by The Lorax with $13.1 million.
John Carter, the $250 million sci-fi flop, was fourth with $5 million. The fantasy film has done $62.3 million in three weeks.
The action film Act of Valor rounded out the top five with $2.1 million.
Hunger helped propel movie attendance to 22% over the same period last year.
Final figures are due Monday.
I disagree completely with a previous forumer's assessment of The Hunger Games. It was, in just about every way, superior to the book. Granted, that's not a very high hurdle to clear.
Many of the terrible parts of the film were where they tried to adapt important scenes from the book, or used exposition to detail irrelevant background information. Some of the references to the book were out-of-the-blue; for instance, they start referring to a character (Foxface) with her nickname from the book with no discussion or explanation; they should have just referred to her as "the redhead".
They managed to rewrite the two worst parts of the book into something decent, but inexplicably mangled the direction of the final, climactic battle. They nailed the emotion of most of the scenes with Katniss, but because they didn't introduce or give background information on any of the non-main characters, some of their scenes fell completely flat. In particular, Foxface and Thresh. Why would anyone care about a character that's had less than 30 seconds of screen time and no spoken lines?
The camerawork, lighting, and scene design were all well done, and the direction was above-average for most of the film, with a few minor quibbles. The acting was outstanding. I wish they would have used less CGI (do you really need to use CGI for smoke coming out of a chimney? C'mon!), but such is the state of the industry.
Overall a decent effort. I award it a resounding three and a half meh's out of five.
I pretty much agree with this (above-quoted) assessment. When I got out of the movie, I said to my friends, "They need to adapt this into the book and replace the actual book, because the movie doesn't lose focus nearly as bad as the book does, and also, there was a lot of technology-magic bullshit in the book that was mitigated in the movie."
It had half my theater tearing up at several parts, and most of the folks around me hadn't seen it, because they were speculating to each other about what was going to happen next.
Most of the changes they made when adapting the movie were excellent, but there was a loss of detail that confused one of my friends (who went in blind) as to what exactly was going on most of the time.
But it sure was a pretty movie. And very intense. There was a lot of gasping in my theater at the beginning of the Games over how brutal it was. Even though I knew what was going to happen going in, it still felt very gripping.
EDIT: And I am in no way a fanboy of the book; the way the book handled certain details and situations drove me fucking batty, and a large swaths of the book are poorly written and framed, and the ending of the first book kind of retroactively ruined the previous two hundred pages. Being said, when I finished it, I thought, "This would work much better as a film."
Not having read the book, I liked The Hunger Games, but didn't love it. It feels like it would have been better with another half-hour of running time.
Some things needed to be foreshadowed/explained better. It wasn't that any part of the story was difficult to understand; it was more that I was left with the bad kind of questions. Not the "this is intriguing, I wish I knew more" kind of questions--rather, the "this feels kind of like bullshit, why should I believe this would happen?" kind of questions. The immersion-killing kind.
And more importantly, emotional moments were blunted because we barely got ten lines from characters like Rue. All in all, I suspect this movie would've done a lot more for me if I read the book and was able to connect it to characters and exposition found within. That's just how it feels--I haven't actually read the book, so I don't know. Regardless, standing on its own, it needs some work.
To the person complaining that the movie was hurt from a lack of backstory for several characters having gone in blind I think you're wrong. The movie felt really well paced and I doubt it could have survived the added running time.
We care about Katniss. We are given more then a enough to "get" characters or at least see them as three-dimensional characters. I don't know who the hell "Foxface" or the guy from end's deal really was but it doesn't really matter when it comes to the plot. Which was tight and enjoyable.
I'm also very impressed with the sheer amount of exposition and the smoothness of it.
So I saw the Hunger Games premier last night and, while it was good, the liberties taken by the movie were idiotic. All the quality was from the books, and the choices by the writers and directors were pretty dumb.
For starters, the casting: Katniss is a stunted 16 year old with the voice of an angel. Jennifer Lawrence is 21 years old, 5'8", and can't sing. At all. She was actually one of the largest cast members. This, of course, gives a lot of problems showing her disadvantages and how small she is in the face of things.
For the story, they cut out a lot of the relationship building which softened (if not negated) the blow when a charcater died. Now, I understand that time is limited, but they also spend a lot of time on behind-the-scenes scenes and colour commentary that weren't in the book, had no real point, and are frequently redundant. There was also a good bit of time spent on the other contestants. One other major additional problem with these additions is that they took the focus off the immediate surroundings of Katniss, removing the claustrophobia from the story, which the director decided he could put back if he just did a lot of long, slow close-ups of Katniss' face, because that's exactly how that works.
There were also scenes that the director clearly didn't understand. Take this line of exchange:Girl from #2, taunting Katniss: I'm going to kill you just like we killed that litle girl. What was her name? Rue?So, why did he let Katniss go? Who knows!
Thresh, from #2's blind spot: You killed Rue?
#2: No, I didn't. It was someone else. I-
Thresh smashes her skull, turns toward Katniss
Thresh: I'll let you go this time, for Rue.
Lastly, no one looked like he or she had gone through the Hunger Games. Katniss had her pretty little braid right through the end, and absolutely none of the wounds in the film looked life threatening.
I'll get into more analysis later, but It's all pretty bad except for the interviewer and hishallucinationcameo.