Lionsgate has made it pretty clear that they want to ride The Hunger Games franchise into the sun. And we get it! They have the right to… buuuuut that doesn’t always necessarily mean they should.
The only majorly WTF moment outside the usual memorabilia and games you’d expect in a franchise has been the expensive, “luxury” Capitol Couture clothing line and an upcoming stage show. But there have been threats of other outrageous things like a theme park and more recently, additional movies added in to the franchise.
Here’s what Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has to say:
The Hunger Games franchise wraps in November. What’s the future for Lionsgate in the YA space?
We’re always looking for ways to extend all of our intellectual property. We’ve seen that’s what happened with Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. So we’re always looking for worlds within the IP that we haven’t explored yet.
So you’re saying something else in the Hunger Games world isn’t out of the question?
Not saying specifically for The Hunger Games, but we have other franchises, too. If you look at Divergent, for example, after the third book, [author Veronica Roth] actually put out a novella called Four. There may be other material there. One never knows when we dig into the treasure troves of these brilliant writers what we might find.
We’ve said previously that we could probably deal with a Haymitch Quarter Quell movie if it was really, really well-made. But really, that’s it. And the idea of Lionsgate working beyond that is kind of horrifying.
So we have some questions for the studio as they consider all this:
1) What does Suzanne Collins have to say about all this?
THIS IS IMPORTANT. Consider Harry Potter, because Feltheimer brought it up. Yes, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is happening. But it’s being written and produced by JK Rowling, who clearly supports the project very much and will ensure it’s true to Harry’s world. Suzanne Collins gives interviews about one every forever or so, but we’re really interested on her thoughts about Lionsgate expanding upon the intellectual property she sold to them. Would she be involved? Would she openly support this? Suzanne certainly doesn’t seem the type who would smile and nod if she didn’t like the direction in which Lionsgate is taking the franchise.
2) Where’s your source material?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them started with a companion book JK Rowling wrote, followed by a script she’s writing. The Hobbit trilogy is loosely based off JRR Tolkien’s actual Lord of the Rings prequel– just expanded to the point where a lot of fans are kinda offended. We’ve started to use the term “hobbiting” to describe unnecessary additions to popular book or movie series that clearly exist for the sake of cashing in. We say that we could handle Haymitch’s quell because there’s an outline in the books. But very little else could really be considered part of the fandom’s source material like the other two franchises.
3) Can you handle fan reaction?
If you expand a franchise and it’s not up to fan expectations, you’re in for a world of backlash. We’re not stupid and we have A LOT to say. Many people already calling out the cash ploy that is splitting both Mockingjay and Allegiant (Mockingjay, we can handle. Allegiant was going to be bad as ONE movie. Why draw out that torture?!) We hate to tell you, but if any spinoffs aren’t damn near perfect, you will face fan criticism until the end of time. The media won’t be nice to you, either. Hell, they aren’t even nice when you follow the source material!
4) Is there no other YA worth adapting in your eyes?
Okay, so massive popular YA franchises are few and far between, but let’s give up on the cash cow model for a moment. Other studios have been pretty successful in creating decent adaptations of modern YA that connects well with audiences. And there are amazing stories to be told in the modern day. Or what about some of the amazing fantasy coming out in YA? But instead you just cast Emma Roberts and Dave Franco in Nerve, which is based off a little known book, seems to be The Hunger Games + Internet, and is marketed specifically to THG fans (which we hate, btw). If you think you’re going to get the same reaction every time if you just keep playing that YA dystopian hand, YOU’RE WRONG. Switch up your game plan before you really get hurt. We say that with love!
We know your audience because we are your audience.
The Girl With The Pearl