1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate, 4,137 Theaters, 142 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Harry Potter is gone, Twilight is on its last legs, and we are still looking for a literary adaptation to take their place. The Chronicles of Narnia series has been somewhat popular, but the cinematic battlefield is littered with high-priced kid-lit adaptations that failed to capture audiences’ attentions the way those two did. This week, another contender steps up to the plate.
The Hunger Games is an insanely popular book trilogy that has found a number of loyal fans who have apparently never read the Japanese novel Battle Royale. Because that novel bears an almost legally actionable similarity to The Hunger Games and it came out almost 9 years earlier.
But, regardless, derivative or not, people are expecting this film to be a Potter/Twilight level success. But it is a story about kids being forced to kill kids. That lacks the sense of awe and wonder the Potter series had (although this property has a similar “coochie-coochie-coo” naming system for its characters that Rowling employed for her books) and it misses the romance of the Twilight series, two things that brought the uninitated into those franchises. Also, it is one looong film. It’s budget is lower than John Carter, but I think it might just be as big a disappointment. I could be wrong.