You've seen the trailer played numerous times inbetween your favourite shows and a bow-and-arrow wielding Jennifer Lawrence emblazoned on every double decker you come across, but where is the expectedly huge The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2's presence you expected to see on Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube? The trio of fandom platforms all stand relatively still, despite there being only a few hours until the last instalment's release. And we can't help but wonder, why?
Firstly, let me say, I am a huge fan of the franchise and claim quite confidently that the lack of visible enthusiasm surrounding the latest film reaching the cinema hasn't got anything to do with the quality of the series. Each movie has been just as good, if not better (here's looking at you, Catching Fire) than the one that came before it.
Now of course, I'm not referring to people simply voicing that they want to go see the film - there are still plenty of those - but for example, the latest James Bond film Spectre was all anyone could talk about on social media in the run up to it coming out, and thinking back to Twilight and Harry Potter, they were very much the same. So what it is about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 that isn't quite warranting the similarly hyped reaction?
Are the studios simply releasing too much footage, too early?
In the run-up to the film coming out, there have been three clips, seven trailers and nine TV spots all released by the official YouTube, and by any film standards, that is a lot of footage. In addition to that, it's worth knowing that the first trailer was released as early as March this year.
Nowadays it seems common practice to debut trailers even sometimes more than a year before a particular film comes out, and it makes people excited momentarily and then they almost lose interest as it becomes something they begin to see time and time again. Batman v Superman is probably the most obvious film this has happened to recently, given that when the first trailer went public back in April 2015, DC fans still had twelve months to wait until the film would even see cinemas.
With Spectre, there wasn't much revealed about the film, other than the basic cast, for several months leading up to its release, and I noticed that not knowing much made 007 fans all the more desperate to see it. Even the trailers didn't give that much away even when they were released! So is that the best way studios can create a buzz around their films? After seeing Mockingjay - Part 2, I can safely say, there is ample footage that you don't see in the online promos in the movie, but then again, that's hindsight. It could well be putting people off.
Is it because it's a book adaptation?
A lot of people already know the ending - and its 'out there'. It's as simple as that. Is that part of the reason why fans aren't quite so desperate to see what happens in the final instalment, because 'true' followers of the series will already know the story anyway, albeit through reading the books or seeing spoilers on the internet?
Of course, if people want to avoid the ending, they can. I know that I managed it before I saw the last film, but many people, particularly those who would sit there scrolling through The Hunger Games tag on Tumblr, are likely to have come across a post or two that revealed several plot points of the last book and perhaps that has ruined the appeal.
Have the stars been overly publicised?
When almost any film comes out, there is expected to be a premiere, but when big films such as this one come out, they have several. The world premiere for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 was in Berlin, Germany on 4 November, followed by the London premiere the very next day. There was another held in Paris on 9 November and more recently the US premiere took place in Los Angeles on the 16th.
Photographs of the main stars permeated news publications as well as sites, just like this one. Could it be a case of audiences getting tired too soon of the over-saturation of the franchise? It's not even just legitimate media outlets that share such pictures these days either. The celebrities themselves have Instagram, Twitter, even Facebook accounts where they constantly share getting ready snaps and red carpet selfies. Is seeing too much of the characters in real-life taking away the allure?
Or is the serious adult content stopping the typically teenage audience from connecting to the saga as fiercely?
It's no secret that young adults are the most enthusiastic when it comes to hardcore fandoms, just look at Directioners or Twihards. And whilst some of the reasons I've mentioned, I believe, do play a part in causing the hype to die down around certain franchises, I believe that its the serious tone and the intelligence in a way, that the entire Hunger Games franchise exudes that is the main catalyst for a more mature response to its release.
Much like the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games saga has certainly got darker over time, which can work well given that a lot of the audience grow up alongside the films being made but these movies have been made in quick succession, so perhaps their target audiences haven't matured quite as much as Potter fans, who had to wait a decade for the franchise to be concluded. And there's no denying that Mockingjay - Part 2 is dark, with much of its promotional material offering up war-like motifs and undercurrents that focus on themes as deep as corrupt political figures and class segregation, to scare-mongering propaganda, war and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Personally, I think the way the screenwriters, and of course, Suzanne Collins originally, handled the material and simultaneously the action makes both Mockingjay the book and Mockingjay - Part 2 the best one yet, but then I am a little older than the specific target audience and this isn't a discussion as to whether its a good movie. I was excited in the run-up by the somewhat gloomy nature of Part 2 because I found it spoke louder than any love triangle or fantasy elements that many YA focus on and I liked that I couldn't predict whether the ending would be a happy one. But there may be some that were turned away by such points, all the same.
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