That time is almost upon us. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is due in theaters in about a week and a half. The Hunger Games is a pop culture phenomenon like few others. The young adult book and film series are the young generation’s Harry Potter, with all the spoils that come along with that title. It’s itching to be a billion dollar property, which is why Lionsgate is looking to branch out and expand the brand.
According to Variety, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer confirmed that the studio is looking to develop a Hunger Games theme park. The proposed destination would be in two domestic territories, most likely Florida on the east coast and California on the west. While Feltheimer didn’t disclose what kind of attractions would be at the proposed theme park, it begs the question; do you want to spend your vacation at a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, and dystopian theme park?
I’m all for merchandising and making more money off a popular film franchise, but a theme park seems like a bad idea. At its core, The Hunger Games is about social upheaval and rebellion. A popular attraction surrounding the active murder of young people for sport really doesn’t scream social revolution. What separates The Hunger Games from Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Avatar is that the world of Panem is a place you don’t want to take the wife and kids on a vacation. I can’t imagine theme park attractions featuring children working in sweat shops, slave plantations, or throwing over a power hungry dictator. Why not make a theme park based on Battle Royale while you’re at it?
The Hunger Games is Lionsgate’s only giant franchise, so it’s in the company’s best interest to explore all avenues to merchandise the hell out of it, no matter how perplexing. If the studio does launch these attractions at a theme park, it could be at either Universal Studios or Six Flags.
Lionsgate is not the only movie studio looking to branch off its properties into the theme park business. Warner Bros developed and launched attractions for the aforementioned Harry Potter series, while Paramount has turned the Transformers franchise into rides at Universal Studios. Disney, of course, is looking to expand the Star Wars brand at Disney parks, and partnered up with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment to introduce Avatar into Disneyland.
Recently, Lionsgate released two clips from The Hunger Games sequel. The clips featured Gale and Katniss as Capitol troops enter District 12, while the other features Haymich helping Katniss and Peeta get through their Victory Tour. Catching Fire is currently tracking to make almost a billion dollars, with an estimated $150 million opening weekend. You can see why Lionsgate wants to keep on that gravy train.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits IMAX theaters everywhere on November 22nd.