Will Donahue ‘24
I know I’m not the only one who has been seeing “Hunger Games” content nonstop on social media these past couple of weeks. Sure, it’s possible that the Twitter and TikTok algorithms have shoved me down a rabbit hole and tricked me into thinking everyone is experiencing the same thing – but I don’t think this is the case at all. The posts I’ve been seeing have hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of likes. I know the series has always been popular, but I haven’t seen this much “Hunger Games” love since the movies were in theaters. Clearly something bigger is going on here.
And I don’t think that “something” is difficult to explain. A few weeks ago, Netflix added all four “Hunger Games” movies to their library for a limited time only – with the end-of-month deadline pressuring subscribers to watch them as soon as possible. It’s certainly possible that Netflix’s timing and the subsequent social media craze is just a coincidence, but with a new film coming later this year – “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”, based on Suzanne Collins’ prequel novel of the same name – it seems a bit too convenient. I wouldn’t be surprised if the execs at Lionsgate are orchestrating an elaborate astroturfing campaign to generate hype for the prequel.
And you know what? It’s working. Over spring break, I re-watched the movies on Netflix. I’m now re-reading the books for the first time in over a decade, and I’m foraging around the internet for scraps of news regarding the new movie. The algorithms that decided to bless my For You pages with “Hunger Games” analysis have successfully reignited my obsession with the franchise, and now “Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is one of my most anticipated films of the year. But more importantly, it’s not just me; with seemingly everyone else experiencing the same phenomenon, it truly feels like we’re in the midst of another “Hunger Games” pop culture craze. It’s my middle school years all over again.
That said, I hope this renaissance stays contained to “Hunger Games” and “Hunger Games” alone. When the series was at its peak popularity in the 2010s, we suffered through an onslaught of young adult dystopian media – franchises like “Maze Runner” and “Divergent” come to mind. In just a few years, the genre became oversaturated; and despite countless attempts, nothing could match the quality or popularity of “The Hunger Games.” But now that the franchise is getting a second wave, I really hope we can restrain ourselves from oversaturating the genre once more. The last thing I need is some ding-dong on TikTok telling me why the factions from “Divergent” are actually biting social commentary.
So, is this sudden spike in “Hunger Games” popularity being carefully manipulated by a few powerful corporations? Probably. But to be honest, I don’t care. They can keep feeding me the fan theories, the hot takes, and the cosplays. I will eat it up every time. And yes, I know the entire series is a cautionary tale against that kind of mindless consumption. I’m just a hypocrite sometimes.
Featured image courtesy of Google The Hunger Games Film Series
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