Hollywood’s leading producers have gathered in LA to talk about what goes into making a successful franchise – including the success of The Hunger Games.
Nina Jacobson was the woman responsible for The Hunger Games adaptation and is also behind the sequel, Catching Fire. She spoke on a panel at the Produced by Conference about what it takes to create a successful franchise.
According to a reports in THR and Deadline, Nina explained that the key to success is staying focussed on making the best first movie possible, and that if it hits, to run with it. She told the panel that it’s nearly impossible to actually manufacture a movie franchise:
“The belief you can design a franchise just because you want one has been responsible for some of the worst movies we’ve seen in a long time,” said Nina Jacobson, the former head of production at Disney who produced the blockbuster hit The Hunger Games. “The most damning thing in Hollywood right now is the belief filmmakers decide if it’s a franchise. The audience decides.”
She also explained that it helps if you start out with a book that already has a huge fan base – as was the case with The Hunger Games.
Jacobson said most potential franchises start with successful books, as was the case with The Hunger Games, or other well-known properties like games or products. That requires the filmmakers to be aware there are people with a strong attachments to the material, and that they “need to respect the ardent fans,” said Jacobson.
However, when you develop the script and cast, you still need to do what you think is best for your movie. “You can’t let the fans cast the movie,” said Jacobson.
Another interesting revelation was that film makers had briefly considered making The Hunger Games in 3-D
One thing Jacobson did not want for The Hunger Games was to make the movie in 3-D. She said that the creative team felt that despite the violence, there was a thoughtful quality to the books and that they were ultimately very ethical. “They are about young people and violence without exploiting young people,” she explained.
Jacobson said they did consider making it in 3-D but then felt it would make the violence more of the focus instead of having it be driven by the characters. “I think it would be distasteful,” said Jacobson. “We discussed it and discarded it early on.”