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EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate’s 'The Hunger Games' Gets a Release Date

Gary Ross' feature adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestseller will hit screens March 2012.

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Lionsgate has chosen a release date for high-profile event picture The Hunger Games: March 23, 2012.

Gary Ross is directing the feature adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling young adult tome. Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy of science fiction novels that have developed a global following.    There are more than 3.3 million copies of Hunger Games in print in the U.S. alone, while foreign rights have been sold in 41 countries, according to publisher Scholastic.   By going out in theaters in late March, Lionsgate is looking to prosper from spring break and the Easter holiday (Easter Sunday falls on April 8 in 2012). So far, Hunger Games has the March 23-25 weekend to itself.   While teenagers make up the core demo of the Hunger Games franchise—divided fairly evenly among females and males—Collins’ books resonate with adults as well.   Set in post-apocalyptic America, Hunger Games introduces 16-year-old heroine Katniss Everdeen, who must participate in a fight-to-the-death annual event called the Hunger Games. The battles are televised, and pit youths from each of the Capitol’s 12 Districts against each other.   Nina Jacobson is producing Hunger Games via her Color Force banner.    Lionsgate nabbed worldwide rights to the much-anticipated film project last year.   Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) is set to begin shooting the film in late spring or summer, although no cast has been announced, including the coveted role of Kantiss.   Hunger Games will open one week after Sony debuts 21 Jump Street (March 16, 2012), and one week before the bow of Warner Bros.’ Clash of the Titans 2.