If the storyline of The Hunger Games seems a bit familiar, well, tales about people fighting each other to the death in some dystopian future gone mad isn’t exactly new.
There have been comparisons everywhere to Battle Royale (which never hit theaters in the States because of Columbine), including Stephen King’s The Running Man, 1984 and even Blade Runner - although funny enough, no one’s mentioning another fight to the death sport for pleasure in the future flick, Rollerball.
The L.A. Times did a comparison story, “Which Dystopian Property Does Hunger Games Most Resemble?," and on the list were the movies mentioned above, along with Lord of the Flies. Of course, 1984 is the classic warning of the future that’s influenced practically every dsytopian tale that’s followed, and as Steven Zeitchik also wrote of Blade Runner and Games, "There’s an American dystopia, a theme of hunter-and-hunted and a lot of people reading a lot meanings into it."
Suzanne Collins claims she knew nothing of Battle Royale when writing Hunger Games, saying she got the idea channel surfing back and forth between the war in Iraq and reality TV.
Cinema Blend pointed out some notable differences, including, "Battle Royale isn’t really a science-fiction film," "Battle Royale is a much smaller story," "Hunger Games is about the fight for revolution while Battle Royale is about the fight for survival," the main characters, Shuya Nanahara and Katniss Everdeen "are very different characters in the context of the games" and "the media plays very different roles in each film."
Meanwhile, the L.A. Times confirms that Battle Royale’s DVD sales have gone up with the success of The Hunger Games, and I can only imagine a young adult audience checking it out and being shocked as hell by the film’s violence and brutality, which Games obviously had to downplay for younger viewers. Of course, Anchor Bay, who put out Battle Royale on DVD last Christmas, knew Games would be a big flick, and now it’s trickling back to Royale.
As Kevin Kasha, who acquired the film for Anchor Bay, told the Times, "There’s a core fanbase that has been looking for this movie, and that’s who we’re targeting. But with the Hunger Games coming out, there’s also a whole new market of people who probably didn’t know Battle Royale existed."