With The Hunger Games movie less than a month away, fans are more anxious than ever to get their first taste at the latest breakout young adult franchise. Forget Horcruxes and glittery vampires—the film features a survival of the fittest deathmatch where only one can survive. That riveting plot point will guarantee a decent number of bodies in the seats, but there’s one area of this series that the marketing team don’t seem to be using to their full advantage: the love triangle.
The romantic angle of the Hunger Games centers around the main characters: Katniss, Gale, and Peeta. While Gale initially plays the role of the “close friend” to Katniss at the beginning, it becomes clearer as the series progresses that he hopes it will eventually blossom into something more. On the other hand, Peeta’s love for Katniss comes completely out of the blue and is only discovered once they’re both named the District 12 tributes. Katniss initially believes his sudden feelings are merely a strategy to help win the Games, but eventually discovers that’s not quite the case. As for Katniss, she remains torn throughout the course of the trilogy as to where her heart truly lies. Avid fans are aware that the love triangle between main characters Katniss, Gale, and Peeta exists in the book, but, given the recent trailer fails to give any clues to that major plot point, one assumes the idea is completely lost among non-readers. Clearly it was done intentionally, but why?
Initially I thought it was a way of creating a sense of mystery in the plot, considering they’ve kept the actual Games footage pretty close to the vest as well. However, now it feels like they’re purposefully leaving it out in an attempt to shy away from being compared to the popular Twilight saga, where the love triangle continually takes precedence over every other story line. In fact, it’s the main reason the film has gained such incredible popularity—yet The Hunger Games seems to want no part of it. Why? Perhaps the series is hoping to appeal to a wider scope of audience and fear any Twilight affiliation would harm the integrity of the film.
While attempting to make The Hunger Games a unique franchise unto itself is certainly a respectable decision to make, you can’t help but think that they’re losing out on an extremely important demographic: the teenage girl. This age group goes crazy for a good love triangle and could become a major money maker for the series if the film chose to amp up the romantic aspect of the movie. If that aspect of the plot goes un-highlighted, then the box office could potentially face a drastic loss in profits. Look at recent young adult fiction adaptations The Golden Compass and The Seeker, two movies that favored action/drama over any inkling of romance. Neither found broad audiences, neither amounted to much at the box office.
That’s not to say the love story should be the main focus on the entire franchise—the actual Hunger Games tournament is an incredible storyline that should by no means be overlooked—but to completely leave the love triangle out of the trailer seemed like a risky move in regards to the film’s success. Whether you are a fan of Twilight or not, you can’t argue that its box office stats were monumentally impressive. So are the writers really willing to risk losing viewership all for the sake of not being categorized as a Twi-hard equivalent? If that’s the case, it could prove to be its downfall.