Sure, I'm thankful for my wonderful family, but after over 20 years of going around the dinner table on Thanksgiving and saying what we're all thankful for and basically repeating the same thing year after year, it's been necessary to spice up the conversation with a rather blunt degree of honesty. In 2009? I was thankful for my iPhone. Last year? Thankful for being able to go to graduate school for film. This year? I am endlessly thankful that Lionsgate took Suzanne Collins' beloved book and, based on the recently released trailer, is 110% doing the source material justice.
No, seriously. I know it seems like a stretch, but the studio deserves some major credit; that trailer blew me away, and not only did it do so simply because the book comes to life either exactly or better than I imagined, but the trailer itself is just a well-cut and well-structured piece of promotion material. You can read more about my thoughts on the trailer as well as some feedback from writers throughout the Hunger Games fandom right here and catch my comments on the success of the trailer as a marketing tool in tomorrow's Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week. (Well, I guess that's a bit of a spoiler.)
In the meantime, let's take a look at the uproar the trailer caused, which serves as the perfect transition into the recent Hunger Games financial news. As reported by Bloomberg, Lionsgate admits The Hunger Games must make at least $100 million to justify Catching Fire. As the studio's biggest production yet, The Hunger Games could be a game-changer for Lionsgate, especially after three recent box office disappointments, Warrior, Abduction and, most devastating of all, Conan the Barbarian. As a studio that doesn't operate under the umbrella of a major corporation with a variety of assets like the six majors, Lionsgate's value basically rises and falls with every release. With the studio currently sitting on the lower end of the spectrum, if The Hunger Games performs poorly, it could be detrimental. Equity analyst David Miller explained, "If you follow this company closely, you’ll see it’s always the next movie that becomes the reason to buy the stock. If Hunger Games doesn’t work, the stock is going to take a big hit."
Well, based on Fortune’s report, it seems as though Lionsgate has nothing to worry about. While the author admits nothing's a sure thing, she notes that even if the film doesn't fair well with critics, The Hunger Games’ immense fan base will likely hold strong enough to either make it a hit or at least a modest hit, which, for Lionsgate, could still be quite big. Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities, predicts, "On the low end this will be a movie over $100 million, and on the high end this could be transformative.”
Based on my own formulas for predicting box office earnings, The Hunger Games has to be heading towards at least a $45 million opening weekend. Thanks to the wild amount of pre-release hype and the very evident higher quality, The Hunger Games simply has to earn more than Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which began its run with $31.2 million in February of 2010. But then we could look at the first Twilight movie's opening earnings, a whopping $69.6 million. No, Hunger Games isn't getting a Thanksgiving release, but, otherwise, the two films are really quite on par (but, of course, not in terms of the nature of the material). It really just comes down to whether or not The Hunger Games will get as lucky as Twilight and turn out to be a monumental success. Personally, I think the odds are really in Hunger Games' favor. To be safe, I'd say $45 million, but, deep down, I don't see why The Hunger Games can't come close to Twilight and match the March 2010 release Clash of the Titans with a $60 million start.
Happy ‘Hunger Games’ Thanksgiving
Enough business talk -- back to Thanksgiving. With the holiday just a week away, it's time to get in the spirit - Hunger Games- style. What would a Panem-based Thanksgiving dinner be like? Okay, so perhaps having Katniss and co. at the same dinner table as President Snow is a bit unrealistic, but let's just figure they're putting their differences aside in light of the nature of the holiday. Without further ado, the fandom brings you a Hunger Games Thanksgiving.
Roses from President Snow – Movies.com
Wouldn’t the Thanksgiving dinner table look beautiful covered in pink and red roses? Well, maybe not to Katniss, but, minus the malice behind them, President Snow’s genetically enhanced blossoms could make for some beautiful holiday adornments. Plus, if President Snow is attending the feast at all, we’ll be needing his signature flowers as who wants the festivities to reek of blood?
Napkin Rings and Strawberry Pie from Madge – HungerGamesTrilogy.net
Madge would be a fantastic Thanksgiving guest because she'd serenade the other guests with her fine piano music, but even then her music would not be as popular with guests as her strawberry pie. The sweetness would make these pies the delightful ending to a Capitol-sized feast, and, at the end of the day, she'd surprise everyone with token napkin rings in the shape of Mockingjays. Her pie and her crafts seem sweet, but watch out; there's a hint of rebellion in those Thanksgiving-loving eyes.
A Smile from Annie – Shylah of Down With The Capitol
Food and decorations might get most of the attention on Thanksgiving, but the heart of the holiday is family. Having Annie at the table, quiet but smiling, her hand in Finnick's, is a reminder that even though times get hard and life can take unpleasant turns, as long as we make the most of the time we have with those we love, we can weather any storm.
Mashed Potatoes and Pumpkin Break from Peeta – FictionalFood.net
I envision Peeta bringing mashed potatoes and a warm, comforting loaf of pumpkin spice bread. While he's trying to get through the horrible night in the company of President Snow, he begins to "frost" his mashed potatoes on his plate into a beautiful design that helps Katniss deal with the ordeal as well.
Synthetic Candles and Place Cards from Portia – Mockingjay.net
Utilizing the synthetic flame they attached to Katniss and Peeta's chariot uniforms, Portia will bring some candles that use those synthetic flames and lend ambiance to the occasion. Her place cards are a soft yellow with a dancing flame border to represent District 12.
Silverware, Plates, Goblets and Napkins from Effie – Theresa of Down With The Capitol
Effie, as always, wants everyone to display good manners and also wants to make an impression on President Snow (still hoping for that promotion), so she will provide the table setting for this festive occasion. The District 12 escort will see that everything is perfectly placed and will be sure to demonstrate the proper use of the delicate pearl encrusted silverware and intricate linen napkins. The gold lined plates and winged goblets will provide the finishing touches. Effie will also have her clipboard and watch ready to be sure that each course begins and ends on schedule. After all, this is a big, big day!
Wild Dog Stew from Greasy Sae – Kait of Victor’s Village
Like that awkward aunt who genuinely thinks her puffy turkey sweater is stylish, Greasy Sae shows up with the completely repulsive dish only she could enjoy! Everyone will pretend to love the idea, but nobody will eat it except one brave soul whose taste buds will be scarred for life - we're thinking Gale.
Alcoholic Beverages from Haymitch – The Hob
A meal without booze just isn’t a meal for Haymitch, who will certainly bring some bottles of his white liquor to the feast. Since it’s a holiday, he would likely share his homemade brew with the other guests though with his surly, violent behavior, they may opt for another beverage rather than ask for a glass.
Cornucopia Filled with Festive Fruits and Vegetables from Seneca Crane – Savanna of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Okay, let's face it; I really only want Seneca Crane at this Thanksgiving dinner because Wes Bentley is cute. But since President Snow is in attendance, it DOES make sense that his Head Gamemaker would also receive an invitation to the party, right? Since none of the other Capitol guests seem to be bringing anything edible, I'm going to go ahead and assign Seneca to decoration duty as well and charge him with bringing the quintessential Thanksgiving centerpiece: a cornucopia filled with mini pumpkins, mini gourds, and ornamental corn. Sure, some of the attendees might find this piece of decor to be a little offensive, but you can't argue with tradition.
Conversation and Turkey from Gale – Melanie of HungerGamesMovie.org
Gale's amazing skill at hunting enables him to be the hero and bring the turkey! Though last time he hunted turkey he was whipped, so let's hope President Snow can put aside the 'no hunting' rule for an evening. With Gale's strong political views mixed with the presence of those from the Capitol, the dinner conversation may be a bit tense. Surely he will have a few choice words for President Snow making the evening a tad awkward, yet extremely entertaining!
Carving Knife from Clove – Colleen of HG Girl on Fire
The carving of the turkey is a Thanksgiving tradition, so it’s important not to forget the carving knife. And we all know Clove is a master with her knives, so why wouldn’t she bring the tools of her trade? Of course, her jacket should probably be searched on arrival, just in case she decides to bring extras.
Turducken (Turkey Stuffed with Duck Stuffed with Chicken) from Plutarch Heavensbee – Sheila of HG Girl on Fire
Despite being one of the leaders of the rebellion, Plutarch Heavensbee very much enjoys the Capitol lifestyle and all it has to offer. Eating a regular turkey is too simple a meal for Plutarch so he will be bringing a turducken, a turkey stuffed with duck, stuffed with chicken. It may sound rich to the simple stomach of the people from the districts, but really, who wouldn’t enjoy this ridiculously succulent Capitol specialty? Here’s hoping the turducken meets Greasy Sae’s culinary standards.
The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 127 days until release.