In Hollywood, there are the “big six” studios (aka the industry majors) and there’s everyone else. But, The Hunger Games may be changing that Hollywood status quo. Soon we may be talking about a new list of “big seven” industry majors because Lionsgate is on its way up.
According to this Wall Street Journal story, The Hunger Games‘ stunning success may be a game changing boon for its studio and the whole Hollywood studio system. It may be time for Paramount, Warner Brothers, Columbia, Walt Disney, Universal, and 20th Century Fox to move over and make room for Lionsgate.
The Hunger Games cost $80 million to make, and it has grossed $360 million in domestic box office receipts and $577 million in worldwide ticket sales in the five weeks since its release. That’s what folks in the industry call a “profit.” As Starcasm reported in November 2011, Lionsgate execs Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns needed $100 million in domestic box office receipts to green light production of the film adaptation of the second book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. In five weeks, they’ve more than tripled that target profit, and it has been a very long time since anyone doubted that Catching Fire would be made.
There is still a lot of uncertainty about the next Hollywood installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. All of the principle actors have signed on for the whole series, so the franchise is safe in that sense. But, Gary Ross won’t be directing Catching Fire. That will be Francis Lawrence’s gig. With I Am Legend and Constantine on his resume, Lawrence is no stranger to a big cinematic pallet; but, let’s hope he can capture the nuances of Suzanne Collins’ characters as well as Ross.
If Lawrence can deliver another success on the scale of The Hunger Games, then it is likely Lions Gate will get to sit at the grown-ups table at the next Hollywood studio holiday party, and they’ll have one Katniss Everdeen to thank for it. May the odds be ever in your favor, Lionsgate!