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The Hunger Games Franchise: What went so right (THG, CF) and then so wrong (MJ1, MJ2)

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Since a lot of people have been clamoring for a MJ2 WWW thread, but our moderating guidelines don't allow for it, this is a compromise solution.

 

3 years ago, The Hunger Games debuted in a world where Twilight was about to take its victory lap with the final installment and Harry Potter had just said goodbye with a record breaking final installment. The world was primed for a new YA adaptation to fill the void and THG fit the bill perfectly. No one expected it to break out as big as it did and be as successful as it was. It seemed like the only way for the franchise was down from that starting point...

 

... but the franchise defied expectations with the 3rd largest 2D OW of all time with Catching Fire which became the only sequel to a 400M+ grossing movie to outgross the original. Released prior to Thanksgiving 2013, it teamed with Frozen to make the Thanksgiving frame a memorable one and had legs all the way into the new year ending the year as the #1 movie of 2013. It was also really well received by audiences and critics alike.

 

From here, the franchise was now defying expectations and everyone was waiting to see how it would do that with the next movie, and it did, by falling to a 120M OW for MJ1, but of course MJ1 didn't have IMAX, was a part 1 and only told half a story. So of course the audience which didn't come for MJ1 would definitely show up for the conclusion of the epic saga and to see Katniss take her victory lap right. Right????

 

As it turns out, the audience decided to stay away and in fact decreased for the 4th and final installment. Unlike DH2 and BD2 which both increased over their previous installment, MJ2 collapsed further on OW barely finishing above the 100M OW mark. Even crossing 300M looks to be a tall order for MJ2 as none of the previous movies have had a 3x multiplier, and Star Wars is looming on the horizon as well. The movie will also in all probability end up being the lowest grossing of the franchise WW as well falling below the first movie which is somewhat unprecedented.

 

While acknowledging that the franchise was a big moneymaker for Lionsgate, we can still discuss what exactly caused the audience erosion following the second movie which was a high point for the franchise.

 

So well.... have at it.

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It went from being the most  accessible book franchise  since LOTR and HP at first and then just simply appealing to hard core fans and female teenagers in 4 years. 

Also splitting the film in two. 

From a Fiscal POV it generated more Cash flow then one film, however the value of the The Hunger Games Brand is diminished greatly to casual audiences. 

 

Unlike lets say SW which went through three prequel films that were not that widely received, the brand is still as strong as powerful as ever. 

Edited by Lordmandeep
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Mockingjay movies simply didn't generate the same excitement among all moviegoers like the first two did. Mainly because of less interesting plots. 

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Hunger Games 1: the premise seemed quite appealing to most demographics. Even my mom went to see it... Other than that, I have no idea why it became a huge hit...

Catching Fire: momentum from first movie + J Law's Oscar win.

Mockingjay movies: it did not add anything too special to the premise other than "game is over." And from what I know, the book itself is not well-received by fans...

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3 films in 2 years, 4 films in 44 months (not adequate enough time for hype/anticipation to build), mediocre reception (audience/critical) towards the final two films which were based on divisive source material. And the split on top of that.  

 

All of this caused casual audience base to deteriorate; MJ1 had largest proportion of built-in fanbase driving the gross, and now MJ2 will have a larger proportion.

Edited by spizzer

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5 hours ago, mrqe93 said:

Hunger Games 1: the premise seemed quite appealing to most demographics. Even my mom went to see it... Other than that, I have no idea why it became a huge hit...

 

Catching Fire: momentum from first movie + J Law's Oscar win.

 

Mockingjay movies: it did not add anything too special to the premise other than "game is over." And from what I know, the book itself is not well-received by fans...

 

I'd say Girl Power was the reason why it did so well, but after awhile, that wears thin and gets old... There's also a part of me that hopes the whole "Girl Power" thing doesn't ruin SW7 either..

Edited by BKB IS CAPTAIN AMERICA
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7 minutes ago, BKB IS CAPTAIN AMERICA said:

 

I'd say Girl Power was the reason why it did so well, but after awhile, that wears thin and gets old...

:apocalypse:

 

 

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I think CF and THG appealed to male audiences very strongly. The games was indeed a novelty that appealed greatly. 

 

I doubt any YA series apart from HP appealed to male audiences as strongly.

 

However after CF the sense came from my friends and family that THG is something just for teenage girls again.

Its odd how at  first the series was so widespread and popular and become far more focused in its appeal. 

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As someone saw in this forum, HG movies follow the trajectory of books: good-very good-not so good. In other hands, if the main reason that prompted katniss to take action is to save her sister from certain death,

Spoiler

the fact that she eventually died anyway makes totally useless (at least for herself), all she has done. 

 That could have disappointed some happy-ending lovers. (like me)

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In September I put this in the MJ2 under 350 club:

Quote

- MJ1 and 2 are completely different movies than Hunger Games and Catching Fire sold audiences on. (Youth death games sell better than dystopian future battles maybe?)

- Jennifer Lawrence has lost her luster in the last couple of years.

 

I think the Jennifer-Lawrence-popularity aspect is a bigger piece than I've seen people talking about so far.  She was hot stuff in 2012 and especially 2013 through early 2014, but then she wore off.  I don't think that accounts for all of it but as with anything in the real world there are many complex causes to something like this and I think that is one of the factors.

 

If Passengers does well it will because of Pratt, not Lawrence.  They got the paychecks wrong on that one.

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4 minutes ago, IMojammer said:

In September I put this in the MJ2 under 350 club:

 

I think the Jennifer-Lawrence-popularity aspect is a bigger piece than I've seen people talking about so far.  She was hot stuff in 2012 and especially 2013 through early 2014, but then she wore off.  I don't think that accounts for all of it but as with anything in the real world there are many complex causes to something like this and I think that is one of the factors.

 

If Passengers does well it will because of Pratt, not Lawrence.  They got the paychecks wrong on that one.

Lawrence is still.the biggest female name in the business right now.

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I've got to say The Hunger Games, the first one, felt like more of an event film then any other film that's come out in my lifetime. A month before the release date and no one would shut up about the thing, people had to get a hold of the books, people were skipping school to go see the movie. It was huge.

 

Apparently with Mockingjay these movies just didn't feel like that kind of event anymore

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nothing went wrong. the games were a draw to casual audiences and without them "only" 3/4 of the audience stayed-- that 3/4 being enormously huge. and mj2 can still finish above mj1 so like??

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Mockingjay was a terrible book, so the quality of Part 1 was always going to be worse than the first two. As a result the hype just wasn't there for Part 2.

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3 minutes ago, water said:

nothing went wrong. the games were a draw to casual audiences and without them "only" 3/4 of the audience stayed-- that 3/4 being enormously huge. and mj2 can still finish above mj1 so like??

You think this is gonna have a 3.3x multi?

 

Anyways, any time the “grand finale" is the low point in a series I think something went wrong

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It was a fad of a franchise, MJ2 will drop 175m from CF.  Not even the Hobbit movies decreased nearly that much from each other!

Edited by Ozymandias
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9 minutes ago, Ethan Hunt said:

You think this is gonna have a 3.3x multi?

 

Anyways, any time the “grand finale" is the low point in a series I think something went wrong

I think one major problem is that it didn't feel like a grand finale. Too many films in a pretty short timespan probably didn't help either. I honestly believe if they didn't split up the last book and took two years off after CF, it would have made near THG/CF levels. Of course, it probably was a smart financial decision (even with the additional P+A costs) to split up the last book. Still, even with the relative disappointment, Lionsgate will be crying all the way to the bank.

Edited by Jayhawk
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Just now, Jayhawk said:

I think one major problem is that it didn't feel like a grand finale. Too many films in a pretty short timespan probably didn't help either. I honestly believe if they didn't split up the last book and took two years off after MJ1, it would have made near THG/CF levels. Of course, it probably was a smart financial decision (even with the additional P+A costs) to split up the last book. Still, even with the relative disappointment, Lionsgate will be crying all the way to the bank.

 

 

 

only problem now is that this franchise is over so soon they might be crying for different reasons

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I wouldn't say J Law's luster is wearing off. She was a top-billed actress in X Men Days of Future Past. However, she hasn't had variation in her roles. After Catching Fire, her exposure to the general movie-going audiences was Mockingjay movies and that X Men movie. American Hustle? She was barely in the movie. And the other movie with Bradley Cooper bombed. It could be tiresome to see the same actress do the same thing again and again every year. I think it could have a little bit if she had released a, for example, comedy film between Hunger Games movies.

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2 minutes ago, John Marston said:

 

 

 

only problem now is that this franchise is over so soon they might be crying for different reasons

That's true. Producing stuff like Gods of Egypt is why Lionsgate won't be around a decade from now (maybe sooner), they are pretty much screwed.

Edited by Jayhawk

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