Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY HARLEY CABRERA
It’s safe to say that most people flocking to the theaters, young and old are seeing “The Hunger Games”; because the records speak for themselves. “Hunger Games” set the record its first weekend of release for the most presale tickets ever sold.
Movietickets.com which is owned by major studios and theater chains, reported that 2,500 screenings were sold out, and among them 1,400 of those were midnight showings. This record beats out “Harry Potter” and the “Twilight” series. Fans of the “Hunger Games” are not surprised that it slay its competition.
“I actually don’t know where the amazement with vampires and werewolves came from. I attempted to watch one of the movies but couldn’t last for more than five minutes… but I would definitely see [Hunger Games] again. I’ve already seen it three times.” said Chelci Bidos, a self-proclaimed super-fan of the series.
It’s because of fans like Chelci who saw it multiple times during this past weekend that it earned $152.5 million nationwide, $19.7 million of that coming from midnight shows. Which made it the 7th highest grossing midnight opening of all time and the highest grossing non-sequel.
“I think it was because Hunger Games is a breath of fresh air from all the wizard and vampire madness. It’s something new. Plus there’s a ton of action.” said Austin Vives another fan and movie-goer.
The “Hunger Games” has been compared to classics such as “Lord of the Flies” and Japanese film “Battle Royale” because of underage violence and Sci Fi post-apocalyptic themes. Despite the graphic battle descriptions in the Hunger Games novels by Suzanne Collins, the movie received a rating of PG-13.
“From reading the novels, I imagined how brutal the death scenes were going to be but seeing it on the big screen took it to another level. Even with a PG-13 rating it was still pretty intense” said Vives.
Director Gary Ross mentioned in an interview that he filmed the movie so that it would receive a PG-13 rating to attract its intended audience and also to attract a wider range who haven’t read the books. He said an R rating would have seriously affected ticket sales.
Ticket sales overall have seen a 3% spike compared to last year and an overall 35% higher than the last five years according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
“The overall increase in film attendance could be tied to an increase in confidence in the economy. There have been some slight positive signs economic confidence is increasing, so perhaps if people feel comfortable with the finances, they can feel better about spending more money going out to the movies.” said Dr. Barna Donovan, film expert and author.
The MPAA has also noted that ticket sales have gone up because of movie goers who frequent the theaters more than once a month, or week depending how much they like the movie.
This small population of only 10% of general movie goers actually accounted for nearly half of all ticket sales from 2011.
Movie industry insiders say “Hunger Games” could be launching the beginning of a blockbuster season for Hollywood, which runs April to July. Coming up ahead, Sci Fi and fantasy fans have “Wrath of the Titans 3D” the sequel to the successful “Clash of the Titans” starring Liam Neeson and Sam Worthington coming out this weekend. Following are the highly anticipated “Avengers” coming out May 4th and “Prometheus” coming out June 8th which is the prequel to the horror-sci fi classic “Aliens” starring Sigourney Weaver who is slated to make a cameo.
Let’s see if “Hunger Games” remains the winner of the summer blockbuster district.