The Hunger Games is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Gary Ross, based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. The film was produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, with a screenplay by Ross, Collins, and Billy Ray. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Donald Sutherland.
The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, which consists of a wealthy city, called the Capitol, surrounded by 12 less affluent districts. As punishment for a past rebellion against the government, the Capitol initiated the Hunger Games–a televised annual event in which one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts are selected in a lottery as "tributes" and are required to fight to the death in an arena until there is one remaining victor. When the protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) hears her younger sister's name called as the female tribute for their district, she volunteers to take her place in order to save her from having to participate. Joined by her district's male tribute Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson).
The film was released on March 21, 2012, in France and other countries and internationally on March 23, 2012, in both conventional theaters and digital IMAX theaters. When the film released, it set records for opening day ($67.3 million) and opening weekend for a non-sequel, both which were later surpassed by The Avengers. At the time of its release, the film's opening weekend gross ($152.5 million) was the third-largest of any movie in North America but now is fourth behind The Avengers, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and The Dark Knight. It is the first film since Avatar to remain in first place at the box office for four consecutive weekends. It will be released on DVD and BluRay on August 18th, 2012.
The Hunger Games was acclaimed by most critics, who praised its themes and messages, as well as Lawrence's performance as Katniss. Like the novel, the film has attracted criticism for its similarities to other works, such as the Japanese novel Battle Royale and its film adaptation, as well as the American short story "The Lottery". It is noted, however, that Collins' novel and screenplay possess key differences by drawing on sources of inspiration such as the myth of Theseus, Roman gladiatorial games, reality television, and the Iraq War. The Hunger Games has been the subject of varying interpretations, including allusions to feminist, political and religious allegory.