At the glitzy premiere for “Hunger Games,” CEO Jon Feltheimer breathes a sigh of relief: “I think it’s going to be OK”
“There’s no nudity in the book, so there’s no nudity in the movie,” Ross said.
He probably won't need it anyway. The PG-13 movie had a splashy premiere on Monday night ahead of projections that the film will open to "Twilight"-level numbers of close to $100 million.
Also read: 'Hunger Games' Premiere Draws Stars, Fans
With "Hunger Games," Lionsgate is looking to leave behind a dismal financial quarter and launch a multi-picture hit that will bring in young movie fans for the next few years.
The signs thus far are strong. On the red carpet at the Nokia Theater, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer was confident, though reluctant to compare the fledgling franchise to "Twilight," now under the same umbrella with the company's acquisition of Summit.
“I don’t compare projects, but we’re super excited about the movie," Feltheimer told TheWrap. "We get to have three more, right?”
He declined to offer a specific box-office projection, but said “I feel great. We've got a great movie. I think it’s going to be OK.”
"The Hunger Games" will open to the general public in more than 3,000 theaters on March 23, and is on track to gross at least $95 million in its opening weekend. That would be the biggest opening since the weekend of Nov. 18, 2011, when "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" opened to $138.1 million.
With the franchise just now building steam, there’s no definitive confirmation whether the studio will adapt it into three movies (one for each novel in the series) or try to stretch it further the way Summit did with "Twilight" and Warner Bros. did with "Harry Potter" novels.
“You know, that’s a larger conversation that involves more people than me,” Ross told TheWrap.
Tracking indicates the film will open to at least $95 million in its opening weekend, with a $100 million weekend possible.
One thing is certain, "Hunger Games" is igniting the kind of movie fan fever that Hollywood only rarely creates.
Lionsgate COO and newly-titled president of Motion Picture Group Steve Beeks said he was fielding so many requests for tickets to the premiere that “It got to a point where you kind of actually have to hide.”
Beeks’ added responsibilities were announced the same day that Lionsgate-Summit announced it was laying off about 80 people.
“I’d say there was some interesting timing. It was tough. It was tough frankly,” Beeks told TheWrap before seeing the film in its finished version for the first time.
“It’s a great company," he said. "I’m pretty excited to be a part of it, especially over the next few years."
Woody Harrelson's long stroll on the black carpet marked his second “premiere” in 48 hours. His starring role in HBO’s “Game Change” debuted over the weekend.
Ross admitted he was still working on the film up until very recently.
“I tweaked a couple of things in the color timing a couple of days ago,” he said.
The film’s popularity drew several non-affiliated celebs who either came to support friends, like Miley Cyrus, Kelly Osbourne and Kevin McHale, or to be the one who walks across the street and signs autographs for fans, spends about an hour on the carpet, and admits they had not read any of the books.
Here’s looking at you, pop singer Cody Simpson.