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'Hunger Games' is Lions Gate's most costly movie ever at nearly $100 million

September 13, 2011 |  8:00 am

Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence

As Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. investors gather for the company's annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday, three things will be on their mind, Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst James Marsh said: "'Hunger Games,' 'Hunger Games' and 'Hunger Games.'"

The first of four planned movies based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling trilogy wrapped production in North Carolina on Saturday and will be released March 23. It's the Santa Monica studio's most expensive, and potentially most lucrative, production to date.

Lions Gate spent nearly $100 million to produce "The Hunger Games," a figure brought closer to $80 million after tax credits.

When it acquired the rights in 2009, the studio had conceived of it as a smaller production that would appeal only to young adults. But at the time only one book had been released and it had sold fewer than 500,000 copies. Today the trilogy has sold more than 12 million copies, and backers believe it could be what Hollywood calls a "four quadrant" film -- one that appeals to men and women, young and old.

Check out the story in Tuesday's Times for much more on what it took to make "The Hunger Games" and what it could mean for Lions Gate.


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-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Jennifer Lawrence on the set of "The Hunger Games." Credit: Murray Close / Lionsgate.