Executives at Lionsgate Entertainment are hoping those words will ring true for them as they gamble on the most anticipated literary adaptation to hit Hollywood since "Twilight" and "Harry Potter." The first of four planned "Hunger Games" films, based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling trilogy, wrapped production in North Carolina on Saturday and will hit theaters March 23.
A successful "Hunger Games" franchise could transform the studio, much as "Twilight" did rival Summit Entertainment, by providing reliable income for years from box-office, DVD and digital sales as well as television licensing and merchandise.
But launching such a movie series won't come cheap. With a budget of nearly $100 million, the first film alone is the costliest production ever for Lionsgate, which is best known for low-budget genre fare such as "Saw" and Tyler Perry's "Madea" films along with the occasional prestige movie like "Precious." The studio's movie business is in need of a jump-start, having weathered a number of flops since last year.
"There are three things on Lionsgate investors' minds for the next year: 'Hunger Games,' 'Hunger Games' and 'Hunger Games,'" said analyst James Marsh of Piper Jaffray, who predicted the four movies would generate more than $475 million in profits over six years.