Lionsgate picks up "Hunger Games"

Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:47pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lionsgate has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film project "The Hunger Games," which will be derived from a futuristic young-adult novel written by Suzanne Collins.

The Scholastic novel, which is the first in a planned trilogy, imagines a dystopian future where North America has been divided into 12 oppressed districts, each of which is forced to send tribute in the form of a boy and a girl to compete in a televised battle to the death once a year. "Hunger" involves a young love triangle in the context of a dark, "Battle Royale"-type scenario playing out on reality TV, much like Stephen King's "The Running Man."

Released last year, the book had gained modest popularity until King and "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer publicly praised it, propelling it onto best-seller lists.

Producer Nina Jacobson grabbed film rights to the book for her independent Color Force banner in a highly competitive environment two weeks ago.

Collins will adapt her book for the screen.

"The suspense of 'The Hunger Games' is heightened by its spirit of moral inquiry," said Jacobson, "and Suzanne has entrusted Lionsgate and me to bring that moral perspective to the adaptation -- a charge we fully intend to honor."

Collins' second installment, "Catching Fire," is due on bookshelves September 1.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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