Anxiously awaiting when I could finally see The Hunger Games movie for myself, I came across a really interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how the movie was marketed. According to the article, the movie required a different games of its own: “The Gender Games.”
The book adheres to many famous ideals, focusing on a female heroine, Katniss, in a fight to the death among 23 other contestants of both genders. The fight encompasses both genders, showing that female kids have the ability to fight equally against kids of male gender. Additionally, by making the main character a female in the fight, this book takes an even bigger stride for feminists. Not only is there a female protagonist, but she also does not show any weakness where bravery is needed most and comes out victorious in the end.
Although there is a love story integrated into the plot, this love triangle is merely for entertainment in the novel and does not play a huge part in the story. Most importantly, the love story does not conflict with Katniss’s character. She remains a strong female heroine, not being swayed or forced into a stereotypical gender role at the end of the story by falling in love.
However, although the love story should not be the main focus of the novel, this very component of the book caused a “Gender Games” when trying to publicize the movie. It’s presence in the book and the characters cast for Gale and Peeta left many young girls across the country swooning. This “female cult fandom” may have deterred males from seeing the movie, as they become annoyed by the fanatic focus on the love story instead of on Katniss’s strong character in the brutal situation that she fights to get out of. In fact, the article states that 73% of young women had definite interest in seeing the movie, while only 48% of young men said they were definitely interested.
In order to reverse this thinking, marketing this movie required some playing of “The Gender Games” in attempts to bring male interest back up to the substantial male interest the books themselves had without losing the huge female following the movie already gained. An online videogame was made and the movie was screened in IMAX, both of which target male audiences.
However, in order to bring the movie back to what males found intriguing in the book in the first place (it’s fast pace, strong characters and violent sport), these specific traits were highlighted in the trailers. Bruzzese, president of Ipsos MediaCT's Motion Picture Group, mentions, “They've taken away the love story and focused on the hero, who, by virtue of her altruism and fire, is going to stand up against this situation.”
Watching the trailer for myself, I found this to definitely be true. Her bravery and determination are unquestionable, and the focus on the action of the movie could leave anyone, whether male or female, yearning to see more. With these trailers and overall product of the movie, The Hunger Games was definitely triumphant in “The Gender Games”.