For those of you who sneer at the Harry Potter theme park, deeming it far too tame for a badass like yourself, well, you’re in luck! Hunger Games, the film franchise based on Suzanne Collins’s grotesquely dystopian trilogy, is the inspiration for a new set of theme parks.
According to Time, “Lionsgate Entertainment has several projects in the works for theme parks based on the dystopian world of Katniss Everdeen.” The New York Times reports that parks are planned for both China and the United States with rides and attractions based on the films. Seeing as the films (and books) turn on the premise of child sacrifice via competitive slaughter, I’m curious to know exactly what aspects Lionsgate plans to replicate. The bloody race to the cornucopia? A newly bred species akin to tracker jackers? Whee!
The United Arab Emirates will also open “another Lionsgate entertainment zone” – “one that is closer to completion.” Opening next year, visitors will have the opportunity to romp through “zones dedicated to other film properties like Step Up and Divergent,” as well as make their way through “District 12,” “complete with costumed characters and Peeta Mellark’s bakery.” There will even be, the New York Times notes, “a lavish roller coaster...designed to resemble the movies’ high-speed Capitol trains.”
Megan Garber at The Atlantic argues that the plans for these parks heralds a sea change in “location-based entertainment.” Walt Disney World, a theme park that has by now become iconic, was conceived as “much more than entertainment alone.” Disney himself viewed it as a space “dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America.” But as Garber notes, the Hunger Game parks do not seek to inspire their visitors in the same way. They are rather, she asserts, “a thoroughly commercial proposition.”
Perhaps this shift speaks to a larger cultural cynicism. Certainly films like Hunger Games and Divergent, while promoting a set of ideals, lay bare the jaggedness of life in a way Disney, in accordance with its brand, probably never will. And yet, people will eagerly visit the parks inspired by them all the same.
And some of us—certainly not me, but some of us—might think it would be kind of cool to portray Katniss in the Lionsgate’s rendering of Panem.
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Image via Lionsgate.