Perhaps Lionsgate can thank irate Oscar voters for pushing "The Hunger Games" over "Spider-man 3" on the list of highest grossing opening weekends. According to Deadline.com's Pete Hammond, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences were stunned to find that Lionsgate wasn't offering Academy members-only screenings of "The Hunger Games."
As Hammond noted, one Academy member told him that she was forced to go to an 11 a.m. screening of "The Hunger Games" with her husband to get "the senior discount."
Before you scoff at the notion of "The Hunger Games" making an impact at the 85th annual Academy Awards next year, however, consider its awards pedigree. Director Gary Ross has received four previous nominations, including three as a screenwriter ("Big," "Dave" and "Seabiscuit," a Best Picture nominee, which he also directed). Composer James Newton Howard has eight nominations, while T Bone Burnett won an Oscar for "Crazy Heart." Cinematographer Tom Stern was nominated for "Changeling," and also shot "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby" for Clint Eastwood. Editor Stephen Mirrione won an Oscar for editing "Traffic," and was nominated again for "Babel." Even second-unit director Steven Soderbergh has an Oscar lying around.
Not that this ruins any future Oscar campaign for "The Hunger Games." Lionsgate is still planning to do Academy and Guild screenings for the film at a later date, proving that -- at least for now -- the odds may still be in the studio's favor.
"The Hunger Games" earned $152 million during its opening weekend, good for the third biggest debut of all time behind only "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" and "The Dark Knight."
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