The anxiously anticipated film The Hunger Games hits theaters this Friday, but did you know that a long running plagiarism controversy surrounds the young adult story about teens battling each other to the death in a live television show? Many believe that the book by Suzanne Collins (and the upcoming movie) was at least partially ripped-off from the Japanese book and film Battle Royale, which was released in the year 2001, seven years before the first Hunger Games book was published.
Ms. Collins claims she never heard of Battle Royale until after her manuscript was already submitted to her publisher, and it’s very possible as this story line is not anything unique. The Romans were watching this kind of entertainment almost 2000 years ago and even if Hunger Games is an American rip-off of the Japanese film, Battle Royale sounds like it’s story was lifted straight from Stephen King’s The Running Man and The Long Walk, which I’m sure were influenced by the book and film The Most Dangerous Game, an 80-year-old story about men hunting men — and so it goes.
Let’s face it; there are not many story lines out there that are not influenced in some way by another book or film or pop culture reference. But the good news is that you can decide for yourself whether The Hunger Games is an “original” or not by checking out the Cult Classics screening of Battle Royale this Friday evening at the MADCAP Theaters in Tempe. Quentin Tarantino has said that Battle Royale is his “favorite movie of all-time.” That alone should make this film worth seeing, and Cult Classics screenings always have other fun art and promotional items to make for a unique movie experience. There will be two shows (9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.) and you can get more information at cultclassicsaz.com.