The Hunger Games and the power of movies in reaching audiences

Here’s a reality check for us book authors.

The Hunger Games movie took in $153 million during its opening weekend. That translates into about 19.5 million people seeing the film over over a three-day period (based on an average ticket price of $7.83).

Scholastic, the publisher of the blockbuster trilogy by Suzanne Collins, reports that 17.5 million copies of the first book are in print as of April 1, 2012. The first book was published in September 2008, two and a half years ago.

Thus, based on these back of the envelope calculations, more people saw The Hunger Games movie in the first movie’s opening weekend than read the fist book during its first two and half years. Let’s not discount the power of film and movies in popular culture. Movies, when crafted well with the right distribution, can be much more powerful in reaching into popular culture.

Quick observation: Appealing to a broader audience naturally means narrowing the focus of the story, reducing its complexity and nuance as a result.

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About SR Staley

SR Staley has one more than 11 literary awards for his fiction and nonfiction writing. He is on the full-time faculty of the College and Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University as well as a film critic and research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. His award-winning Pirate of Panther Bay series (syppublishing.com) has won awards in historical fiction, mainstream & literary fiction, young adult fiction, and reached the finals in women's fiction. His most recent book is "The Beatles and Economics: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution" due out in April 2020 (Routledge).

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