'Hunger Games' Theme Park Possible, Says Lionsgate CEO
TORONTO – Lionsgate is considering turning its blockbuster Hunger Games franchise into a theme park.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts Friday that the box-office success of the original Hunger Games movie, and the upcoming launch of the Catching Fire sequel later this month, has prompted approaches by investors about possible franchise-themed amusement parks.
"We have been approached in two different territories about potential theme park opportunities, which gives you a sense of the cultural impact of this franchise," Feltheimer told analysts during a conference call after the release of his second-quarter results Friday.
"We are excited about those opportunities and are pursuing them," he added.
Talk of the latest ancillary potential for the YA franchise comes as Lionsgate makes a final push to get cinemagoers out to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which hits theaters on Nov. 22.
Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and other co-stars are to leave the set for the third and fourth films in the franchise -- Mockingjay: Part 1 and Mockingjay: Part 2 -- to fly to Europe to promote the Catching Fire release.
"They will … take a break to promote our worldwide rollout of Catching Fire premieres, beginning in London this coming Monday," Feltheimer announced.
The European tour will continue in Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome, before a red carpet Los Angeles premiere of Catching Fire on Nov. 18.
Feltheimer said the goal is chasing strong audience tracking for the Hunger Games sequel ahead of the film's release.
"We are confident that we have positioned Catching Fire as a global phenomenon to continue the growth of the franchise," he insisted.
Lionsgate is hoping that a boost in international box office for Catching Fire will help the sequel outperform the original Hunger Games movie.
The sequel, costing $130 million-plus to produce, is directed by Francis Lawrence.
Based on Suzanne Collins' popular YA book series, the sequel follows Katniss (Lawrence) as she and Peeta (Hutcherson) are forced to return to the deadly Hunger Games while dealing with increased unrest in the Districts.
Rob Friedman, co-chair of Lionsgate's motion picture group, said the strong tracking for Catching Fire domestically was mirrored overseas.
"We've been monitoring tracking around the globe really, and in addition to the very strong tracking domestically, we're seeing the same sort of results in the U.K., Germany, and our Italian distributor is very excited about what's going on there," he reported during the analyst call.