Photo Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate
It's official: The Hunger Games is one of the biggest hits in movie history. This past weekend, the highly-anticipated film raked in $155 million -- meaning The Hunger Games had the third-highest opening weekend ever, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight, and the biggest for a non-sequel. (And sorry, Twihards: It even left The Twilight Saga in the dust, with New Moon and Breaking Dawn - Part 1 coming in at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.)
So The Hunger Games certainly moved tickets -- but was it everything that fans of the best-selling books hoped it would be? For the most part, the response from both critics and moviegoers has been overwhelmingly positive. Yet the film is not without its controversies. Lovers of Suzanne Collins' trilogy are questioning some of the choices that have been made in bringing the books to life. For example, is iVillage Woman of the Week Jennifer Lawrence (see video below) too sexy and sophisticated to play the starving, scrappy teenager Katniss? Is the movie too slick and Hollywood-ized to capture the horror of the books? And does the film contain hidden political messages about big government or Christianity? Or does the real point of the book -- its dark satirical take on media and politics -- get lost entirely?
The biggest source of debate, however, is how violent the movie is, considering it's being marketed to young people. The violence itself should surprise no one, considering that the books revolve around a dystopian reality-TV nightmare where kids are forced to kill other kids. But is the killing too gratuitous for children to watch in a movie theater? One critic has declared that she won't be taking her 8-year-old. Another writer praises the movie for starting important discussions among kids. Local news outlets are warning parents to think carefully before they go, and talk to their kids about the violence ahead of time. And of course, there are those who believe that the violence has been overly toned down in order to get a PG-13 rating instead of an R.
Whatever you think of the movie, prepare to hear a lot more about it: ABC Family has acquired the TV rights, and with this weekend's booming box office, those next two (or three) sequels are now fully guaranteed to be coming to a theater near you.