It’s amazing how much I have to come back to this as I look back on Hollywood’s successes and failures in this column, but chasing the dragon is a wild ride. If something clicks, the idea of trying to replicate a very specific pattern of success that boils down to a very hard-to-capture flash is difficult at best and calamitous at worst. Don’t learn the wrong lessons from one thing. Just because a dystopian YA survival franchise worked doesn’t mean every copycat stands a chance. Studios would do well to look at the nuance of success, rather than focusing on the specifics of success.
But thinking about that ten years later, it’s best to focus very specifically on Lionsgate. The studio is one of the few remaining mini-majors in town. Not quite as big as Disney or Warner Bros. but still able to compete, this studio is hugely important right now as movie theaters hope to stay afloat and all major studios are doubling down on streaming. The problem is, the success of “The Hunger Games” gave Lionsgate a taste of big-budget success and they’ve been chasing that dragon ever since, often with poor results.
Besides the ones we’ve already covered, “Power Rangers”, “Robin Hood”, “Midway” and most recently “Moonfall” are just a few of the hit failures they’ve suffered over the past decade, with “Moonfall” ranked as perhaps one of the biggest bombshells in history. In a way, “The Hunger Games” saved the studio and caught everyone’s attention, but the consequence of that success is that it led to a series of flops that cost the world a lot of money. studio. The pursuit of that success has been a recipe for failure ever since.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate is one of the only studios in town to consistently succeed with mid-budget films, with “John Wick” and “Knives Out” serving as recent examples. As I’ve said in the past, Lionsgate would do well to stop chasing the ghost of “The Hunger Games” and focus on filling a much-needed hole in the modern Hollywood landscape. So go ahead and make this “Hunger Games” prequel, because there’s definitely a lot of money to be made there. But don’t double down on pie-in-the-sky thinking that leads to big losses. Do what you do best. Be that reliable mid-budget hitmaker and the odds will always be in their favor.