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Author Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy has been repeatedly (and sometimes fiercely) criticized as a ripoff of Koushun Takami’s 1999 novel Battle Royale, as both center on groups of teenagers forced to fight to the death until only one survives. Takami’s book has been widely translated, and adapted in Japan as a manga and a live-action film — each spawned a sequel — and was on its way to becoming an American movie, overseen by Roy Lee, producer of the upcoming Oldboy remake.
That is, until Lionsgate’s Hunger Games reared its head.
“Hunger Games took a lot of wind out of the sails of [a U.S. version of Battle Royale] because of its similar storyline,” Lee told ShockTillYouDrop during its visit to the set of 7500, “and so I’m not exactly sure any studio — even before Hunger Games — would have taken the creative risks you would have needed to take to make the movie right now so would be even harder.”
Directed by Gary Ross, The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. It opens March 23.