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The Hunger Games Hunts A Home-Video Release This Week In Science Fiction

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The Hunger Games
(On Blu-Ray & DVD Saturday)
As many will be screaming in comments sections around the web this week, The Hunger Games is similar in storyline to the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, both featuring casts of teenagers forced to fight to the death for society’s amusement. In the case of The Hunger Games, that ugly ritual is part of a post-apocalyptic future where the wealthy, powerful Capitol district rules over the 12 less-powerful districts with an iron fist. As punishment for rebelling against Capitol, each year one boy and one girl are chosen as “tribute” and forced to fight until only one teen remains. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers, not in hopes of the wealth and fame a victory will bring, but to protect her younger sister, who had been chosen by lottery to be one of the year’s contestants.

The first Hunger Games movie has brought in over half a billion dollars worldwide, so I think it’s safe to say that Hollywood has found their next Harry Potter/Twilight. And with mostly positive reviews for the flick, thankfully it sounds like the Hunger Games franchise will be more of the former than the latter. While I haven’t sampled either the film or the movie, I’m thrilled by anything that can get kids excited about reading these days. I’m doubly thrilled if the book in question is better than the Twilight novels (not a high bar to surmount, I grant you). Hopefully the Hunger Games, both film and novels, will inspire a few teens out there to venture deeper into the science fiction world and discover names like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ben Bova, Vernor Vinge, and others. In the mean time, hey, it’s a movie you can watch with your teenage daughter that won’t make you want to scoop your eyes out with a melon baller!

The Hunger Games hits Blu-ray and DVD this coming Saturday, oddly enough, with a midnight release happening in numerous places.

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Lionsgate Looking For More Hunger Games Directors

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Lionsgate is really working hard to keep The Hunger Games series relevant and in the pop culture zeitgeist. The last installment in The Hunger Games series is Mockingjay, which the studio plans to split into two parts (like Harry Potter 7 and Twilight 4). Although production hasn’t even started for the series’ second installment Catching Fire, the studio has started to vet directors for Mockingjay.

By announcing the release dates for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay movies, Lionsgate has made it difficult to get director Francis Lawrence to do a quick turnaround for the next films. The new Lionsgate studio heads, Summit’s Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger (Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment at the beginning of 2012), producers Nina Jacobson and author Suzanne Collins are currently looking for a new director to helm this project. It might not even be the same director doing both parts of Mockingjay.

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Amanda Plummer Joins The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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The production of the sequel to the Hunger Games has been ramping up this month. A few weeks ago, Actress Jena Malone and Academy Award Winner Philip Seymour Hoffman were added to the cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Today, Lionsgate has announced actress Amanda Plummer will now join the cast and will be playing the role of Tribute Wiress.

Amanda Plummer is most well known for playing the role of Honey Bunny/Yolanda in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film, Pulp Fiction. She has since appeared in the movie The Fisher King as well as episodes of the TV series Battlestar Galactica.

The character of Wiress hails from District 3 and was the winner of a previous Hunger Games tournament. She is described as always being one step ahead of the others and quickly becomes an ally with Johanna Mason and eventually Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). She is affectionately nicknamed “Nuts” by Mason. Wiress is also described as being in her early 30s; this could be problematic since Plummber is in her mid-50s. Plummer is the latest addition to an all-star cast, which is quickly becoming the American Harry Potter equivalent.

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Zoe Aggeliki In Talks For Catching Fire

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After much digging and deliberation it looks like Catching Fire, the sequel to this year’s smash The Hunger Games, has finally found the actress who will play Johanna Mason. Among the numerous names in the running for the role, model turned actress Zoe Aggeliki is said to have the lead.

Model turned actress Zoe Aggeliki

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Three Actors Up For Finnick Odair In Catching Fire

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Well, we know Robert Pattinson won’t play Finnick Odair in the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the adaptation of the second book in Suzanne Collins’ young adult trilogy. There are, however, three actors currently being discussed for the part: Taylor Kitsch, Garrett Hedlund, and Armie Hammer.

A source tells E! Online that this trio of dudes is at the top of Lionsgate’s wish list of actors to play the dreamy tribute and previous Hunger Games victor. A decision could even come as early as this week. Then again, another source tells them that the studio is considering going with an unknown for a potentially star-making role, giving the example of Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise.

Finnick comes from District 4, a waterfront zone in the world of Panem, so he’s proficient in fishing, knot tying, and all the sundry skills that go along with being seafaring folk. He won the Hunger Games at the tender age of 14, and because of his statuesque good looks he becomes quite the sex symbol and social butterfly in the Capital. He plays an important role in both Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the series finale.

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Hunger Games 2 Gets A Title

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The Hunger Games was adapted from a book by the same name, so you might think they’ll just title the next movie after the second book in that series. But the second book is called simply Catching Fire and this is Hollywood, where brand recognition among idiots is more important than anything. So, predictably, the second film has been titled The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

At least now we know what they’ll call the third movie, should they make it. Hunger Games 3 will of course be The Hunger Games: Mockingjay when and if it happens.

It works and fits into the tradition of other great franchise titles. Though these days no one actually runs around calling Empire Strikes Back by its full Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back title at the time it was pretty important and whenever Lucas re-releases it, it’s always a thrill to see Star Wars back up on the marquee. I doubt the Hunger Games franchise will ever achieve such lofty cultural status, but if it ever does, they’re all set.