Possible SPOILER ALERTS waiting to ambush you. You’ve been warned.
So I finally saw THE HUNGER GAMES this weekend, helping it out on its way to a $400M worldwide box office gross to date. Oh, wait a second…no I got free tickets from my friend who knows the Projectionist. So, strike that. They’re almost to a Half a Billion Dollars without my patronage. But I did buy the book to read beforehand, so I have contributed to the overall Hunger Game fever. I have to say, though, the movie is NOTHING like the book. Seriously, I mean there were actors and a musical score and there was a WHOLE heckuva lot less reading involved and fewer chapter breaks and stuff like that. But still good, I thought, despite those radical and bold changes.
Wow, half a billion here and half a billion there, pretty soon you’re starting to talk about a lot of money. Speaking of half a billion dollars, that’s how much the MegaMillions Lottery was last weekend, too. Closer to $656M, I believe. I actually bought a ticket because if I won I was gonna buy Asheville, NC. But that was up until I saw this from Slashfilm.com:
Pretty sweet deal. Except all of the people up to and including Katniss and Peeta are sold separately so that was a little stinky. But hey, free bakery! Anyway, make sure you read the fine print. But in the end, the lotto gods were against my financial betterment and so here I sit.
Now, one thing that a lot of people don’t know about, but our rigorous and adept research department at Wired4Film has dug up, is the fact that Hunger Games and its heart-wrenching tale of Katniss and District 12 is actually a sequel. The Prequel of course is Neill Blomkamp’s DISTRICT 9. More of an unofficial prequel, judging by the lack of source material out there linking the two.
Anywho, as with any novel-to-screenplay adaptation there’s going to be like a LOT of scaling down to do. Characters get trimmed or combined, subplots get cut out, like in the case of “Soul Surfer” where there was this whooooooole backstory on the Shark who lived in this underwater village called Lapuna and was picked on incessantly by other meaner sharks…well he was kinda the “Precious” of the underwater kingdom. It really leant a whole dynamic to his narrative, but there was simply not time enough for that in the film, sooooo, chop chop and there goes an awesome character arcing shark story.
Likewise, in this HUNGER GAMES epic film, you cannot possibly cover every story from all 12 districts. There’s just not enough time to do that. But knowing what we know about the District 9 prequel, we were able to press Lionsgate for some answers. The result is these never before seen stills from the film that may or may not actually be in the DVD extended release directors uncut version on Blu-ray.
Apparently there’s a similar story as with Katniss and her little sister, Prim, going on in District 9 which leads this Prawn to volunteer for the Tribute. A very self-less act. Or maybe he was just stretching or celebrating his sister’s reaping because he hated her. We’ll never know because we don’t really speak their language. A little two clicky clicky if you ask me. But, in the end, volunteer he did. I think his name is Jeff.
Of course Effie is in charge of both districts 9 and 12 so she’s on hand for the interview and wisely calls for some translators this time. Turns out Jeff is thrilled to have a chance to represent his District in the games. Funny story, he actually didn’t volunteer to save his little sister, turns out he actually ate her for breakfast is what he said. Either way, cute story, very self-less guy this Jeff. High on charisma. In a blur of activity he’s whisked away to the Capitol City.
Once inside the game, there are some Alliances that form. This scene occurs shortly after the Careers all join up and before the whole Rue thing takes place. Lionsgate really pressed to play up the romance between Katniss the girl on fire and Jeff the Prawn, ironically just as the Gamemakers were pressing to get Katniss and Peeta together. Now if that’s some art imitating life I don’t know what is.
This particular scene occurs after Katniss and Jeff share a little kiss and Haymitch rewards them with a parachute full of baby kittens. This may not seem right at first, but as any well-studied alienologist will explain, that’s just what those other-worlders prefer, just ask Alf. Anyway, it must be just after this moment that something goes awry with the relationship because we neither see Jeff, nor the kittens in any of the subsequent scenes which doesn’t bode well for District 9.
So now, gentle reader, you’ve got what we’ve got! We’re all just waiting for those Blu-ray DVD extras now to see this relationship play out to its tragic and bitter end.
You’re welcome, America! And may the odds be ever in your favor!
(June 1, 2009) A Variety Magazine article by Dave McNary that talks about Lionsgate’s jump in revenue 1Q2009. Interestingly enough, Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail” helped boost the studios earnings.
(EXCERPT) Driven by strong box office, homevid and library sales, Lionsgate reported its second-highest quarterly revenue of $463.2 million for its fourth quarter ended March 31 — but that wasn’t enough to save it from a $163 million loss for the fiscal year.
The 2009 revenues were up 8% but the loss was more than double the $74 million loss in fiscal 2008.
Lionsgate said the fiscal-year loss was due primarily to underperformance of its film slate during its second and third quarters and a $36.1 million charge taken on its DVD distribution of Hit Entertainment’s family entertainment titles.
“We ended our fiscal year on a strong note, with record box office in the first calendar quarter,” Feltheimer said. “We are also pleased that we could drive library, home entertainment and television revenues to record levels in such a challenging market environment. We believe that continued strength in our core businesses coupled with meaningful contributions from many of our recent investments and lower theatrical marketing costs position us for strong positive metrics in fiscal 2010.”
For the 2009 fiscal year, motion picture revenue jumped 17% to $223.3 million, propelled by fourth-quarter titles including “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail,” ”My Bloody Valentine” and “The Haunting in Connecticut.”
Read the full article at VARIETY
Watch out Hulu.com! This Hollywood Reporter article by Steven Zeitchik talks about GoogleTube’s move to provide more content via studio partnerships.
(EXCERPT) In a move intended to strike back at the encroaching Hulu, YouTube on Thursday announced a series of partnerships that will enable it to stream a range of full-length movies and television shows.
The pics and episodes, which will be streamed on a separate section on YouTube as free ad-supported content, encompass a host of library titles from studios including Sony and Lionsgate and television networks as well as a number of indie pics.
The deal comes in the wake of a previous YouTube pact with MGM for television shows and full-length films and follows a pact with Disney for shortform excerpts of content from ABC and ESPN.
Sony’s James Bond tentpole “Casino Royale” and CBS’ new mystery series “Harper’s Island,” as well as pics including Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” and Richard Linklater’s “Slacker,” are part of the deals.
The move reflects YouTube’s increasing aggressiveness in attracting more advertising revenue through premium content while balancing it with enough copyright protection to make the studios comfortable.
Google’s YouTube was among the first big players in the booming online-video space but in the past year has seen its revenue undermined by competition from Hulu, which has specialized in paid full-length content from Fox and NBC Universal — as opposed to the user-generated fare and user-submitted clips that have been YouTube’s specialty.
“In the past it’s been about uploading video,” Google/YouTube senior product manager Shiva Rajamaran said. “We haven’t invested in episodes and series.”
The move will take the site’s episode count from hundreds to thousands, YouTube execs said, and the number of features from dozens to hundreds.
Well, what did you expect? Google to sit back and watch Hulu take over the world? You can read the full article at the Hollywood Reporter
(APR 12, 2007) Thomas K. Arnold of the Hollywood Reporter covers the latest studio to venture into Faith-based filmmaking:
(EXCERPT) Lionsgate has become the latest studio to tap into the lucrative Christian entertainment market, with two initiatives that the independent Canadian studio is expected to announce Thursday.
The studio has acquired exclusive North American home entertainment distribution rights to three DVD documentaries based on the best-selling books by leading Christian nonfiction author Lee Strobel: “The Case for Christ,” “The Case for a Creator” and “The Case for Faith.”
(FEB 7, 2007) Randee Dawn of the Hollywood Reporter writes about the growing effects that Faith-Based films are having on Hollywood as Studios begin to ramp up their new production slates to include more “Christian” films.
(EXCERPT) “Hollywood does not understand the people who live between New York and California,” says [casting director Reuben] Cannon, who was the first to describe [Tyler] Perry’s oeuvre as ‘gospel cinema’. Now that I live in the South, religion is probably the biggest activity here. The Bible Belt is not just a name. It is real. Hollywood just hasn’t catered to the Christian faith-based market because it hasn’t been necessary.”
READ the Full Article by Randee Dawn on www.BackStage.com:
(Dec 2, 2006) A Hollywood Reporter article by Gregg Goldstein about Kirk Franklin’s latest Film production gig with Lionsgate. The entire article can be read (with a subscription to HR) HERE.
(EXCERPT) — Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin will play himself in “Church Boy,” an autobiographical feature he’s producing for Lionsgate. Franklin is composing the soundtrack to the film, featuring his signature songs and several new numbers.
“Church Boy” follows the singer from his abandonment by a young mother to his direction of a Texas choir at age 11, a teenage dive into sex and drugs and his ultimate redemption and success.
“Lionsgate is the perfect home for ‘Church Boy,’” Franklin said. “This is a studio that has made a strong and genuine commitment to African-American audiences and faith-based audiences.”