Fans have been ravenous for more Katniss, Peeta, and Gale after watching them on the silver screen in the first Hunger Games and the second, Catching Fire. But with a movie that already focuses on rather grim themes, will an even darker turn be like an arrow in the foot at the box office?
Mockingjay-Part 1, the first half of the final film in the series, focuses on the effects of all out war. That’s right, no more reapings, no more Hunger Games, no more arenas, no more victors tours. All that is child’s play when compared to the very real effects of war, especially civil war.
In the book series adapted into film, Katniss Everdeen has involuntarily become a symbol of rebellion and freedom for the citizens of Panem following her stunts in the two Hunger Games she had to endure. First risking suicide with Peeta to guarantee no victor for the Capitol’s pleasure, then blowing up the arena’s force field in the Quarter Quell, Katniss has shown citizens that they can fight back, rallying them up by her courage to risk a violent fight for freedom. However, will fans be rallied by the girl on fire, or will she just burn?
As it is, Mockingjay is widely considered the weakest of the three part series due to its lack of what made the Hunger Games so distinct in the first place: the Games themselves. Also, Katniss is no longer the leader but becomes one of many trying to overthrow President Snow and the Capitol. Fans didn’t particularly like receiving the girl they saw as bold and unstoppable in the first two books, coming back as a broken and mentally scarred human being.
Mockingjay-Part 1 is already a risky film to have been made, pushing the boundaries of a PG-13 film and tiptoeing the line of a rated R film. Showing the effects of murder, war, and political oppression, this film dares to go darker than a movie about kids fighting to the death for the pleasure of the social elite has already gone. The action-adventure genre now changes to political thriller, a major jump considering an entire fan base was built on the pattern of suspense in the arena.
At the box office currently, Mockingjay-Part 1 had the weakest debut of the three Hunger Games films that have been released. However, that isn’t putting much restraint on the film, as it has already grossed $482.7 million at the global box office. The Hunger Games grossed over $691 million during its entire run, and Catching Fire grossed $864.6 million. Mockingjay-Part 1 is Lionsgate’s, the production company of the Hunger Games films, chance at joining the billion dollars club.
Receiving a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, much lower than the 84% and 89% of the first two films respectively, it seems like fans are still waiting for their burning questions to be answered. Will the Capitol be overthrown? Will Katniss and Peeta end up together? Will Gale and Katniss end up together? One can already imagine “Team Peeta” fans and “Team Gale” fans going into a Hunger Games of their own against each other.
If recent patterns at the box office are any indication, it seems that Lionsgate just hit another bull’s-eye.