Former Disney exec Nina Jacobson on bringing to life the (likely) next big franchise -- and how it felt getting fired while in the hospital with a newborn.
Producer Nina Jacobson knows a thing or two about life in the arena. As president of the Buena Vista Motion Picture Group, she helped the first of the $3.7 billion-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean movies set sail in 2003, and soon after launching her own production company, Color Force, five years ago, she turned Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid books into two modestly successful family films for Fox, with a third due in August. But with the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling young-adult novel The Hunger Games, which Lionsgate releases March 23, she has entered the arena quite literally, as Collins' tale involves teams of teenagers who face off in nationally televised life-or-death gladiatorial battles. With tracking suggesting an opening that could top $100 million, Games is poised to spark Twilight-level frenzy, a huge new franchise and fresh opportunities for the 46-year-old married mother of three and her expanded, six-strong Color Force crew. Surrounded by the bright primary colors of her two-year-old Santa Monica offices, Jacobson spoke to THR about how she clinched the rights to Collins' book; her mentors as she worked her way up through the executive ranks at Universal, DreamWorks and Disney; and her favorite video games.
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