Talking to someone this weekend and not hearing The Hunger Games come up was pretty rare. This highly anticipated movie scored a $155 million opening weekend. While Twilight’s audience consisted of 80% women and girls, Hunger Games had that number around 61%.
I was at church yesterday, where they asked me to do a book signing. A woman came up to me and was telling me that her 12 year old daughter wanted to read The Hunger Games. After it was bought and read, mom had a go at it and loved it. She told me she went to several stores only to find the second book sold out. When she finally did find it, she immediately bought the third book in the series. The mom was planning to take her daughter and 14 year old son to the movie, hoping, “He gets excited enough from seeing the movie to want to read the books too.”
Last week, at the airport, I saw a mother and teenage daughter reading. The daughter had an e-reader, but the mom was reading The Hunger Games. She’d stop everyone once in a while and say something about it, but her daughter would just smile and say, “Just wait until you get to Chapter 16.” Talk about role reversal. It was a joy to watch.
My son, Andrew, 29, called from Atlanta to tell me he saw it with friends. “It showed on a half a dozen screens and they were all packed. I loved it and while it didn’t follow the book exactly, what they did with it was fine with me.” Now, you’d all know what an amazing statement that is if you understood that 6 months ago, Andrew never read a book for pleasure. He listened to The Hunger Games in his car on the drive from Milwaukee to Atlanta. And now he’s looking for another good book to read.
His road to reading actually started when he saw the movie trailer for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I saw the original Swedish version and enjoyed it, so he wanted to try to read the book before seeing the movie. I really didn’t think he’d do it because I have never seen him read a book other than for school. Well, he’s now read all three.
Since this whole books to movies to books thing works, I say make even more good ones. If kids need an addiction, let it be books and I’ll be an enabler. I hope schools wake up and start paying attention by having kids read books in school that would make them enjoy reading. Personally, I’d like to The Scarlet Letter replaced (I had to read it 3 different times in my school life). I think the trick is to let the kids find the books and get the adults excited about it. And I know adults are excited about it because on Twitter and Facebook, everyone is talking about either seeing The Hunger Games or have already seen it.
Have you seen it or are planning on seeing it? Do you know young people who have read the book and are excited to see it? Do really good movies make you want to read a book or have you seen a good movie you’d like to see as a book?
Bottom Line: Ok, maybe Andrew is 29, but he’ll always be a kid in my eyes.