General

The Hunger Games: “The Whole World Will Be Watching”

By: Kristina Gonzalez
kristina-gonzalez@uiowa.edu

Yes, the whole world was watching. The Hunger Games’ opening weekend broke box office records, totaling to 155 million dollars. Internationally, it made a whopping 59.3 million dollars.

The Hunger Games ranked as the third best opening weekend, after The Dark Knight, and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2. It had the fifth best opening day in history, making 68 million dollars. And of course, beating out the Twilight series completely (though there’s hope for Breaking Dawn Part 2).

While the Hunger Games book series captivated readers, the record-breaking premiere is no coincidence. Lions Gate, who acquired the movie rights in 2009, spent 45 million dollars on marketing.

The strategy was simple: engage the fans. Lions Gate used creative methods to generate a following, including:

Tumblr— Lions Gate created a tumblr, capitolcouture.pn, featuring The Capitol of Panem. The blog uses interactive and enticing articles on “citizens they follow” and different fashion designers who are quirky enough to almost replicate the Capitol fashions.

Interactive websites—Lions Gate used The Official Government of Panem, to put fans into the storyline. The site allows fans to register and become an official citizen of Panem.

Public Appearances—The leading actors and actresses traveled around the country for Q&A to help market the movie.

Sneak previews—With the trilogy featuring a strong female lead, they cleverly partnered with Pretty Little Liars, a TV show with a largely female audience, ages 12 to 34. Pretty Little Liars had their big finale, which revealed a major plot twist. During the finale, the Hunger Games was featured in every commercial break, and a trailer debuted during the episode.

Lions Gate also used social networks, such as Twitter and YouTube. The Hunger Games Twitter account has almost 400,000 followers.

Traditional public relations tactics were also used. Lions Gate passed out 80,000 posters, and the movies’ actors and actresses were featured in 50 magazines, billboards, and advertisements.

The mixture of “old school” marketing tactics with a creative, social media approach worked.  Americans everywhere are saying the movies’ catchphrase: “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

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