Producers for Lionsgate's Hunger Games adaptation are hoping that their modest little movie about preteens battling one another in a futuristic bloodsport doesn't just appeal to bloodthirsty young adults, but families looking bond over some sweet PG-13 implied gore.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that The Hunger Games has already proved a cross-generational favorite — producer Nina Jacobson was recommended the books by a younger colleague and star Jennifer Lawrence was introduced to Panem by her mother. Since the books — and presumably the movie(s) unless audiences are unsuspectingly about to be Golden Compassed — center on sibling loyalty and family tragedy, they offer a way for parents and siblings to relate to one another. Karin Westman, a professor of English at Kansas State University who probably has a better job than you simply because she got to teach The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, explains that, because of broader access to information (and the need books and expensive, star-studded movies have to maximize profit in an age of shrinking print and movie audiences), more stories are crossing demographic boundaries. "What is amazing," she says, "is the power of literature to reach beyond the boundaries that marketing sets up." She adds that "we are finally reaching a point where it is typical for a book to cross boundaries, rather than for it to be seen as an anomaly."
Although one might argue that movie and book peddlers are themselves consciously breaking down these demographic walls as a way to capture more market share per production, the cross-generational appeal of the Suzanne Collins trilogy is undeniable. Themes of family endurance, for instance, especially in the face of hardship, helped public relations exec Maria Perez bond with her 13-year-old niece Claudia, who lost her mother in December of 2010. For her own part, Claudia likes The Hunger Games series because "it's the perfect balance of adventure and love," and because she can relate to Katniss, who she says, "Is exactly like me" because "she's athletic, she's a thinker, she's independent, and she has also experienced loss."
Affective fallacies aside, The Hunger Games is poised to to lure audiences from all age groups, and though some parents may balk at the movie's violence, producers can rest assured that, after all, this is America and it's totally fine for kids of all ages to see limbs being hacked off so long as those limbs are fully clothed.
'Hunger Games' is an opportunity to bond for many families [Christian Science Monitor]