Lionsgate needed to sell “The Hunger Games”. How did they get people to come to the theater when the film criticizes our very own behavior? They marketed the storyline and the characters.
Forget the message, forget that what the PR team is doing is the very thing the books are warning of, and just focus on the foreground of the story. Create posters of sample citizens from each district. Show snippets from the peak action scenes in the film. Throw in a tender moment between Katniss and Peeta. Between Katniss and Gale. Depict the characters as fierce and defiant individuals in the movie posters.
“The Hunger Games” is special in that it had a large following of the book series before the movies. This allowed Lionsgate to skip a few steps; there was already an existing fanbase that would easily be attracted to the films. Personally, I like to see visualizations of books, whether it’s simply the book cover, fan-made art, or an actual film. These real-life depictions make the books and their components seem more tangible. The posters shown below were created for the existing fans. These are characters that they’ve already read about and that they’re curious about. To those who had not yet read the books, these posters didn’t hold as much significance.
Movie trailers and posters aim to spark interest in people that are not already fans, in addition to re-captivating the excitement of existing fans. The trailers carefully weave together scenes from the films that will ensnare the most viewers. It’s difficult to derive the main message of a dystopia from movie trailers because the focus isn’t on criticism. It’s on introducing the characters and action that they’re involved in, which is what tends to convince the audience to go see the film anyways. It’s much more likely to hear, “Oh, that movie looks really cool, we should go see it” than, “Wow, I think this movie is going to convey a really provoking message and critique of human society, let’s go see it”.
“They just want a good show, that’s all they want,” Gale says in “The Hunger Games” movie. I can’t help now but think that it’s a bit disturbing. That is exactly what we want out of the films, and we don’t see any problem with it, thanks to the presentation on the market, and propaganda of our own.
Barnes, Brooks. “How ‘Hunger Games’ Built Up Must-See Fever.” The New York Times, 18 Mar. 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/business/media/how-hunger-games-built-up-must-see-fever.html.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.