Director Gary Ross has finished principal photography on Lionsgate's highly anticipated movie, "The Hunger Games," the studio announced Thursday.
Lionsgate is betting that "Hunger Games" will do for it what "The Twilight Saga" — an adaptation of another series of young adult novels — did for Summit. The studio has rights to three more "Hunger Games" movies.
The book trilogy has sold more than 12 million copies in the United States alone, and has a significant worldwide fan base.
Also read: With 'Potter' & 'Twilight' Winding Down, Studios Hunger for Young Adult Novels
The studio kept the set closed to the press and visitors — although it sponsored a sweepstakes that brought five winners from around the world, and their guests, to visit the sets, watch filming and meet the cast.
The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in the three main roles.
Also read: 'Hunger Games' Sequel Set for 2013 Release
"Hunger Games" offers a dark vision of the future. In Collins's world, every year, the nation of Panem — in what once was North America — forces each of its dozen districts to send a teenage boy and a teenage girl to compete in the so-called Hunger Games. The games are nationally televised fights to the death.
"It has been an absolute thrill watching 'The Hunger Games,' a project that has truly become part of Lionsgate's DNA since our acquisition of the book in 2009, come to life," the studio's co-COO and motion picture group president, Joe Drake, said in a written statement.
In addition to Lawrence, Hutcherson and Hemsworth, the movie stars Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley and Toby Jones.
Also read: Exclusive: Jennifer Lawrence Gets Lead Role in 'The Hunger Games'
Nina Jacobson's Color Force is producing with Jon Kilik.
Based on Suzanne Collins's young adult trilogy, "Hunger Games" is drawing huge interest. Lionsgate heavily promoted a first look at footage on MTV's 2011 Video Music Awards Aug. 28. That show had 12.4 million total viewers — the biggest audience in MTV's history."The Hunger Games" is set for a March 23 release. Related Articles: With 'Potter' & 'Twilight' Winding Down, Studios Hunger for Young Adult Novels 'Hunger Games' Sequel Set for 2013 Release Exclusive: Jennifer Lawrence Gets Lead Role in 'The Hunger Games'