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Thursday
Mar232017

Remembering 5 Years of The Hunger Games - YA Novel to Worldwide Phenomenon 

 

Can you believe it’s been five years since The Hunger Games opened in movie theaters in North America?! To mark this special occasion, we've got a couple of great guest posts from some of our fellow fan site favorites. First up, Courtney from WelcomeToDistrict12.com takes us through the excitement of being one of the first fansites as The Hunger Games became a phenomenon. 

The World WAS Watching...

On March 4th, 2012 my alarm woke me up very early to get ready for the first Hunger Games fan event. I was bouncing off the walls with excitement! This was the first time I would be with fellow fans partying up at the Hunger Games Mall Tour kick-off at Century City in L.A. According to the rules, wristbands were to be given for meet and greet at 8 am, and no one would be allowed to line up before that. I mean, Hunger Games was semi-popular on Tumblr, so how crowded could it really be? 

 

 

Never for a second did I think The Hunger Games would be classified as a "phenomenon." THG was an intelligent story about war for young adult readers. The last phenomenon, in my opinion, that deserved its popularity was Harry Potter and THG being in the same category was a pie in the sky dream. In fact, I was just hoping it was popular enough to get us to the Mockingjay film. OH, HOW WRONG I WAS.

 
It was pure fan girl/boy insanity. There were hundreds of fans, cosplay, signs, and just all around craziness. I ended up scoring a meet and greet on the fly and experienced the Q and A from the pit. It was clear from this that The Hunger Games fandom was very much alive and a force to be reckoned with.

Only about 30% of the entire crowd pictured here
 

To get an idea of the mania, here is a video I took of the fans in the pit while they played the trailer. The fans went ballistic...

 

 

1 year and five months earlier....

 I had to talk about these books with someone. ANYONE. It was quickly becoming my favorite books of all time, and my friends had not read them yet. So I turned to Tumblr and made a page: F*** Yeah District 12!

I became a member of The Hunger Games fandom on October 11th, 2010. I discussed many book events and reported on developments on the upcoming film to be released more than a year later. In this time, things drastically changed. A Tumblr movement called Panem October (the precursor to TheCapitol.pn) had people creating tumblrs just for the district they got put in, and I had an influx of people flocking to F***YeahDistrict12 on the assumption of that it was the tumblr for District 12. Sometime after this, I appeared on HG Fireside Chat and became more involved in the podcast. Back then, tons of fans gathered on Twitter and listened every Monday night. In just a few months, HG Fireside Chat became a staple in the THG Fandom. Shout out to the hosts Adam and Savanna for being the pioneers of Hunger Games fan awareness! (be sure to listen in to the reunion show Monday, March 27th at 9pm ET/6pm PT!)

The announcement of Katniss' casting in March 2011 and the first look at Katniss in Entertainment Weekly in May led fans old and new all aboard the hype train. Choo choo! In the coming months, THG fans would break the VMA ratings record (first THG teaser aired), and I finally made the decision to graduate the tumblr to a website. I brought in my closest friends Tiffany and Denise, and Welcome To District 12 became our new identity (and a name I didn't have to be embarrassed about when talking to my relatives). From that point on our goal was to bring about fan hype and experiencing as many Hunger Games events as possible.

Come November, fans were clamoring hard core for the first trailer of The Hunger Games. As a member of the fan site community, Lionsgate invited some site runners to see it early. Not only were Lionsgate employees eager to see our reaction, but they were so thrilled to show us what they had. It was evident how enthusiastic they were about the project and they genuinely wanted our input. 

March 2012 remains to this day the busiest month of my life. In between human existence, posting news, and attending THG events I could barely keep up. The month kicked off with the Hunger Games Mall Tour, which was a serious reality check on just how huge the fandom was. If you won't take my word for it, check out what Josh Hutcherson said in an issue of Entertainment Weekly: 


The most incredible thing during all this was the way THG was connecting me with people from all over the world. Fans started forming friendships, all linked by a story. As for me, I will never forget the day my fan site friends flew into L.A. for the THG premiere. We were all together for the first time, and there was a feeling in the air that we were part of something special. While these dedicated fans were in town, we experienced the first Hunger Games Fan Camp and the premiere.

 
The Hunger Games Fan Camp has been put on twice: for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. It's an event in which fans camp out at LA Live for a few days. Lionsgate brought cast members to sign posters for fans, radio station giveaways, swag from sponsors, and in the case of Catching Fire, put on a screening of The Hunger Games. When premiere day comes, fans get a spot on the side of the red carpet as well as getting to see the film. It's without a doubt, the best thing a studio can do for its film if the fan base is large enough. Camping out with fellow fans builds camaraderie and morale which flows right into social media promotion. Here's a look at how the first fan camp went:

 

Jennifer came to sign photos at the fan camp, a rare appearance before her super-duper stardom status

Denise & JoshFan site group photo at the first THG fan campMore pics from the event.  

The premiere was electrifying. You could feel Hunger Games insanity in the air. The fan area, the screaming fans across the street, the media circus, it truly felt like the world WAS watching. I'm still super jel about my friend Denise being in the fan area for the first film. While we visited the fan camp, she camped out (it looked so fun it inspired me to attend the one for Catching Fire) and took lots of pictures for us.  Media outlets like to use press photos from that event for their articles even to this day, and sometimes I chuckle to myself because I can see Denise in it!

 

There was something incredibly special about the fandom surrounding the first film, and while the fan base has grown, nothing can match the energy and anticipation for the first film. This was personal for me, and it didn't just have to do with the film or even the books. The fan site runners, at least the ones I was close with, we formed friendships with one another a good year before we physically met. When we finally did meet for premiere madness, I felt a sense of universal humanity for these people and the story that linked us all together. Now, things have changed. Time and life events cause us to move on to other things, such as new opportunities, relationships, and interests. For the most part, we're all still involved in the fandom but its definitely not the way it used to be. I like to think it was just one of those things that was meant to be a new exciting experience but doesn't last forever. That is not to say the fandom now is less important, quite the contrary. Life changes and people change. Things will never be how they once were, and we as humans are perpetually moving forward. The fandom has grown astronomically since the first film giving the franchise more support and the ability to be successful. The number of fan sites (Hello Panem Propaganda!) has grown since that time, and we have more fans than ever creating art, cosplay, recipes, and more all in the name of love for The Hunger Games. I have seen my favorite book series blossom and skyrocket into chart-topping popularity, and sometimes, even now at the end, I still can't believe it's real.......or not real? See what I did there?

 

Huge thanks to Courtney from WelcometoDistrict12.com for this awesome walk down memory lane. For more THG memories, tune in to the HG Fireside Chat reunion show Monday, March 27th at 9pm ET/6pm PT!

 

 

Thursday
Mar232017

Remembering 5 Years of The Hunger Games - Casting Katniss

Can you believe it’s been five years since The Hunger Games opened in movie theaters in North America?! To mark this special occasion, we've got a couple of great guest posts from some of our fellow fan site favorites. This post from Amanda at The Hob (we miss you guys!) is a little walk down memory lane during the casting of the now iconic character, Katniss Everdeen.




For me, one of the most exciting milestones in the development of a book-to-movie adaptation is the casting of characters who had previously only existed in fans’ heads. This has the opportunity to make (think: Divergent) or break (think: The Mortal Instruments) an adaptation, especially in the YA realm. As part of The Hob fansite, I was acutely tuned into every twist and turn in the casting of The Hunger Games.

When some friends and I started The Hob in September 2010 (a month after Mockingjay was released), our first post was a summary of everything there was to know about the status of The Hunger Games movie at that point … not that there was a lot to report. It basically boiled down to three things: 

 
1) Lionsgate had acquired the worldwide distribution rights to the series

 
2) There was a screenplay from Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray

 
3) Gary Ross was the frontrunner to direct (he was officially announced a month later). 

 
That’s it. No release date. No filming locations or schedule. And definitely no actors.

 
Not that that stopped the rampant casting rumors and fan casting discussions. But you couldn’t blame anyone for filling the white space with dream casting debates and polls – that’s what fans do with their favorite books: We imagine the perfect actor or actress to bring our beloved characters to life. I still remember the first time Jennifer Lawrence’s name was mentioned as a dream casting for Katniss. I looked at the picture of her from Winters Bone and thought “I have no idea who she is, but that’s my Katniss.”

 
But Jennifer Lawrence certainly wasn’t the only name in the running. In fact, it may be hard to believe now, but her name was barely a part of the discussion until the final weeks leading up to the casting announcement in March 2011. Instead, every young actress on the planet was publicly campaigning to take on the coveted role of Katniss and threw her hat in the ring at every media opportunity (“I love the books! I relate to Katniss! I’ve read the script! I’ve met with producers!”) – not that anyone can blame them. There was a list upwards of 30 actresses who were being considered for the role, including Hailee Steinfeld, Lyndsy Fonseca, Abigail Breslin and Saoirse Ronan.

 
But that all came to a halt when – in a fortuitous moment caught on video – Jennifer’s mom let the cat out of the bag on the Oscar’s red carpet. 

 

Two weeks later Lionsgate officially announced Jennifer would be Katniss, followed by a surge of additional casting news and months of filming.

First look at Jen as Katniss in Entertainment Weekly May 2011
Some of the first stills released


The cast in the Dec 2011 issue of Vanity Fair 
 
With each early look at the film – either through official images released by Lionsgate or cell phone pics emailed to us by fans who came across the set – I became more and more excited and confident that the team at Lionsgate was working its butt off to get this movie right for the fans. (This devotion extended to the Hunger Games DVD as well, which they were working on long before the film even hit theaters in order to give the fans something special! In November 2011, Lionsgate interviewed me – along with a couple of others from The Hob – about the fandom and love for the trilogy. Talk about one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of!)

 
By the time The Hunger Games was released in March 2012, we’d been through rounds of leaked images, trailer rumors, rating debates and everything else that is likely with a series of this magnitude. The fandom’s expectations were sky high, and nerves were on edge to see if Lionsgate could pull off the movie that this amazing book so very much deserved … or if the movie would be a disappointing beginning (and perhaps an untimely end) to the movie series.

 
But as we all know, those expectations were met – and exceeded.


 
For more Hunger Games memories, read "YA Novel to Worldwide Phenomenon," an awesome guest post by Courtney of Welcome To District 12 on the early days of the fandom. 
And tune in to the HG Fireside Chat reunion show Monday, March 27th at 9pm ET/6pm PT!

 

 

Wednesday
Mar012017

The Hunger Games Exhibition Announces Next Stop in Louisville, KY

The Hunger Games Exhibition has announced its next stop - Jennifer Lawrence's hometown of Louisville, KY! The exhibition opens at the Frazier History Museum on April 1, 2017 and runs through September 10th, 2017. Do you think Jen will make an appearance at the opening? We can only hope so! 

 

Tickets are on sale now HERE.

In case you forgot what The Hunger Games Exhibition is all about, here's a brief synopsis:

 

The Hunger Games:  The Exhibition invites visitors to step inside and explore the world of Panem as created in the films. More than one thousand authentic costumes and props, high-tech and hands-on interactives, and detailed set recreations reveal the amazing artistry and technology that brought the incredible story to life. Visitors follow Katniss Everdeen's inspirational journey, from her humble beginnings in District 12 to her emergence as the Mockingjay. The exhibition features seven galleries including District 12, Tribute Train, The Capitol, Making the Games, District 13, Fan Gallery and Katniss’s Journey.

Highlights include iconic costumes from the films, such as the Girl on Fire dress, the Mockingjay dress and the Mockingjay armor; key artifacts including the Mockingjay pin, Cinna's sketchbook and Katniss's bow; and interactives, including an exploratory map of Panem, a gamemaker's control table, and a stunt choreography interactive.

Thursday
Dec152016

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition - Stef Dawson Meet & Greet in Australia!

 

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is just a few days away from opening in Sydney, Australia! Stef Dawson (Annie Cresta) has come home for the grand opening on December 20 and would love to meet some of YOU from 2-4pm at the exhibition.


Details:

What: Stef Dawson Meet & Greet

When: December 20, 2-4pm

Where: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition @ ICC Sydney – Darling Harbour, 14 Darling Drive, Sydney, NSW, 2000

Why: To celebrate the grand opening of The Hunger Games: The Exhibition in Australia!

How: Purchase your ticket for opening day and be there from 2-4pm. 

 

The upcoming  Australian leg of The Hunger Games Exhibition World Tour begins in Sydney on December 20th, 2016 through February 4th, 2017.

The exhibition’s new home is Sydney’s International Convention Centre on Darling Harbour, and tickets are now on sale via Ticketek.com.au and the official Hunger Games Exhibition website.


Tuesday
Nov082016

The Hunger Games Series Now Available in 4K Ultra HD! 

See The Hunger Games like you've never seen it before! The whole 4 film series is available NOW in 4k Ultra HD! 

If you haven't checked 4K Ultra HD out before, it is the ultimate movie watching experience, with resolution 4 times sharper than normal HD. You'll notice brilliant brights, deeper darks, a wider color spectrum with more lifelike colors and hear immersive audio with multidimensional sound. It's quite impressive! If you have a home theater set up with a 4K player, this is totally the way to experience all 4 films. 

Additionally, the 4K release of The Hunger Games includes an exclusive audio commentary with Editor Stephen Mirrione, Visual Effects Supervisor Sheena Duggal, and Supervising Sound Editor Lon Bender.

For those without a 4K player, each combo pack will also include traditional Blu-ray and Digital HD versions of the films.

 

Tuesday
Sep272016

The World of the Hunger Games: The Official Coloring Book Is Here!

 

Let your imagination run free and color your way through all four The Hunger Games films.

From flamboyant Capitol fashion to the wild, earthy textures of the unforgiving arena, The World of the Hunger Games Official Coloring Book is rich with stunning imagery. Between these pages you'll find intricate patterns, logos, and designs inspired by characters and scenes from all four The Hunger Games films, inviting you to fill them with color. Unleash your imagination and add your own flair to Effie Trinket's outrageous outfits, Katniss's trademark braids, Cinna's stunning creations, and, of course, the iconic Mockingjay.

Both inspiring and relaxing, this gorgeous coloring book is a must-have for any Hunger Games fan.

 

The World of the Hunger Games: The Official Coloring Book is now available. Get yours at Amazon.com.


 

Sunday
Sep042016

The Hunger Games Exhibition Heads To Australia

The upcoming  Australian leg of The Hunger Games Exhibition World Tour begins in Sydney on December 20th, 2016 through February 4th, 2017.

The exhibition’s new home will be Sydney’s International Convention Centre on Darling Harbour, and tickets will go on sale on September 13th via Ticketek.com.au and the official Hunger Games Exhibition website.

 

Thursday
Sep012016

‘The Hunger Games’ Series Is Coming to 4K Ultra HD

Experience the blockbuster phenomenon franchise like never before when The Hunger Games series arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack November 8 from Lionsgate.

The films will be presented in 4K UHD resolution which is 4 times higher than the current max HD resolution of 1080p. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire 4K discs in this combo pack will also include Dolby Atmos audio for the first time on home media.

Additionally, the 4K release of The Hunger Games includes an exclusive audio commentary with Editor Stephen Mirrione, Visual Effects Supervisor Sheena Duggal, and Supervising Sound Editor Lon Bender.

For those without a 4K player, the combo pack will also include traditional Blu-ray and Digital HD versions of the films.

 

Check out the versions of each cover below and click the image to order on Amazon: