Hungry for more Hunger Games? You’re in luck because (in an effort to wring the last ever-living penny from the franchise) The Capitol, I mean Lionsgate, wants to bring the dystopian society to life in a venue near you!
That’s right fans, the book series about a dystopian society that forces children to murder one another for entertainment is currently on track to wring even more money from your pockets via two new exciting, and experiential, manifestations: A live immersive stage show which aims to put audiences “inside the action”, and a mother fucking theme park!
Yes, you read that right. Apparently the powers-that-be don’t think the movies will be enough to satiate fan-lust, and believe that bringing the Hunger Games to life on stage will sell tons of over-priced tickets.
They’re probably right.
And if the live-stage show (targeted to open in Summer 2016) doesn’t give fans enough spectacle, the proposed theme park definitely will.
I imagine Lionsgate execs are sitting around one of their boardroom tables right now, main-lining pricey espresso, as they try to ignore the series’ most prevalent themes in a bid to come up with rides and amusements that won’t depress the fuck out of park guests.
Well, Lionsgate, I’m happy to say I’ve gone ahead and done the work for you by creating a theoretical run-down of what The Hunger Games theme park should look like. You can thank me with a big fat check and Capitol privileges once the park is built.
First, let’s plant the park in CA, just north of LA.
You’ve got sunshine, you’ve got beaches, and you’ve got a lot of ready guests hungry to pay premium prices for an alternative experience – I mean, these people are tired of Six Flags and Disneyland… they just don’t know it yet. Plus, you’ve got access to primo tourism dollars with all kinds of people rushing to the Golden State in search of distraction on their hard-won vacation days.
Rabid fans of the series, oblivious to the work’s themes of poverty, class struggles, Roman indulgence, and war, will show up at the theme park’s towering gates, eager to fork over their hard earned cash to cover tiered admission fees: District prices will be lower than the exorbitant Capitol entrance fees, which is exactly how Capitol guests like it.
District guests are then ushered into one of 12 lines based on their socio-economic status and existing skill sets, after which they are given district-appropriate dress to wear for the day. They are then ushered into miniature versions of their assigned Panem districts where they spend the first part of the day laboring away at assigned tasks.
District 12– Guests assigned to District 12 are given picks and canaries to take into fully functioning mine-shafts with them. Some of the canaries die as their guests dig for coal, which makes the younger children cry, but park officials dressed as Peace Keepers let them know that it’s okay because those dead canaries probably saved their lives.
District 11 – Park visitors in District 11 are made to toil outside, rain or shine, picking fruit and vegetables for the Hunger Games banquet to take place later that night. Peace Keepers spray bug repellant on citizens and plants alike, prodding guests who complain with electric batons*.
District 10 – “Citizens” assigned to District 10 spend the day slaughtering livestock for the end of the day banquet. The task has the unexpected outcome of converting more people to vegetarianism daily than PETA dare even dream. An enterprising young grad student writes her doctoral thesis about the phenomenon and is later hired by Hunger Games LTD as a park consultant.
District 8 – Guests are forced to sit in front of industrial sewing machines all morning, making clothes and shoes for the next day’s park guests. Signs posted everywhere read, “Remember, you paid to be here.”
District 7 – Everyone is given a hatchet. They spend the morning cutting wood to help build houses for the homeless as part of the Hunger Games LTD’s non-profit branch. Anyone who complains of splinters gets the hose.
District 6 – Guests spend the morning learning how to operate and repair park rides, ensuring first and foremost that the park’s higher-paying Capitol Guests will have a smooth experience. District 6 guests finish the morning grumpy and covered in grease.
District 5 – Guests scuttled into District 5 spend the afternoon shoveling coal into huge furnaces and running on human-sized hamster wheels in order to power the park. Occasionally a coal-shoveler finds a note tied to a chunk of coal from a District 12 guest pleading for rescue. They throw these notes into the furnace along with the coal, not even flinching when the flames momentarily burn brighter.
District 4 – Park visitors in District 4 spend their morning fishing, diving for shellfish, and making nets. No one is given sunscreen. Everyone spends the morning grumbling about it until they later reconvene with friends who spent their mornings slaughtering animals in District 9, and then they shut their whiney chapped lips right the fuck up.
District 3 – Guests selected for District 3 have demonstrated a propensity for technological prowess and spend the morning scanning guest photos into the advanced virtual reality program in order to create realistic avatars for the afternoon’s games. Advanced coders are encouraged to pitch new ideas for Hunger Games apps, with all distribution rights and moneys belonging to the park.
District 2 –Guests in District 2 spend the day cutting stone and learning martial arts and advanced combat training. Everyone agrees it’s a tough district, but celebrate how “ready” they now feel heading into the Hunger Games competition later that afternoon.
District 1** – Park Guests who can afford Capitol admission rates but don’t make the pedigree cut are assigned to District 1, where they spend the morning approving designs for new park merchandise, designing the banquet menu, and learning advanced weapons training.
Meanwhile, Capitol guests are treated to the very best the park has to offer.
They begin the morning with specialized spa treatments and personalized beauty services, before choosing from a stunning array of specially designed Capitol Couture fashion options. Guests are treated to a veritable cornucopia of gastronomical delights throughout the morning, each especially prepared by the finest chefs on the planet. Every item a Capitol guest eats, drinks, or wears, comes bearing a price tag letting them know exactly how many hours someone in District 4 had to spend underwater in order to catch their plate of oysters, or how many people in District 8 went without lunch in order to build the bodice of the hand-crafted gown they have chosen to wear. No one pays them much heed though, laughing at how absolutely delicious everything is.
Once the Capitol elite are ready, they are treated to unfettered access to the park’s rides which include rides like: It’s a small world, and we own it—a boat ride through Panem’s past, present, and future. The ride is an obvious Disney knock-off, but no one cares because the tune is just so darn catchy; The Haunted Mill in which park guests get the bejesus scared out of them by maimed and screaming extras pretending to be victims of Panem’s industrial catastrophes; and The Plague Coaster—a pitch-black roller coaster through an early “free clinic”, featuring eerily lit dioramas of medical emergencies experienced in the ill-fated District 13. Plague Coaster riders are treated to commemorative medical masks as they board the ride, lest a bug fly into their gaping mouths on one of the coaster’s thrilling loop-de-loops.
After wearing themselves out with the park’s amusements, Capitol guests reconvene for more luxury dining as District guests are finally let into the park. Peace Keepers escort the District Guests from ride to ride, in order to prevent rebellion as guests realize none of the rides are very fun.
Eventually, all District Guests are guided into the park’s virtual arenas, and their excitement at finally taking a shot at a spot in the day’s Hunger Games overrides any frustration they may have been feeling over their District assignments. Each guest jumps into the park’s patented virtual reality simulation with gusto. One by one, guests vie for one of two tribute spots from their districts, virtually slashing, punching, and clawing their way through their peer’s avatars, hoping to score high enough to become their district’s Tribute.
As Tributes are selected, Capitol Guests are made privy to each player’s stats, and allowed to place bets on the winner. They will watch the Games from a luxury box where each virtual player’s plight is perfectly rendered (using patented Hunger Games LTD technology) on one of the multiple HD screens around the box.
Park officials call each district to assembly in order to announce the lucky Hunger Games participants to the arena. Tired guests sneak jealous side-eyes at the people around them whose names are called.
Tributes are then ushered into a virtual arena, with park guests being made to sit with their assigned Districts. There are no bad seats, and everyone is given 3-D glasses with which to observe the virtual action.
Tributes and observers alike are amazed by the advanced gaming technology employed by the park. The Games are hyper-realistic with each Tribute’s avatar looking remarkably like the park guest operating it. They even bleed convincingly when wounded. Shock pads are built into each players’ suit to allow for realistic pain transmission during “play”, which both upsets and thrills the guests wearing them.
The Hunger Games battle is always intense, bloody, and violent, with District audiences cheering their virtually rendered Tributes on. Guests can help revitalize a wounded Tribute by swiping credit cards into easily accessible kiosks, but Capitol favorites always survive longer than most.
Eventually a Victor is crowned, giving way to evening festivities in which the Victor hob-knobs at the elite Capitol banquet while District Guests are treated to a less formal dinner at The Hob. Dishes on the menu at The Hob include squirrel stew in a bread bowl from Peeta’s family bakery and grain-alcohol served room temperature, “Just the way Haymitch likes it.”
Finally the day is over, with exhausted park guests encouraged to fill out surveys. Responses include comments like “Would have been better if Tributes fought for real”, “I thought the rides were kind of depressing, but maybe that’s just me, LOL”, and “The Fake Ceasar Flickerman was SO lame! Stanley Tucci FOREVER!”
Everyone agrees the park would have been more fun if they could have experienced it as a Capitol guest, but it’s just a theme park after all, and maybe they’ll manage to save up enough money to pay Capitol admission prices next year…
Lionsgate, meanwhile, laughs all the way to the bank.
*Anyone refusing to follow their district’s “laws” are taken to the park’s Capitol Lab where they administered the park’s trademark “Morphling Cocktail” before undergoing medical experiments. No one remembers what happens in the lab, even though they leave the park with mysterious puncture marks on their bodies. Days, weeks, and months later, guests begin loosing hair, having nightmares, and wetting the bed.
**Assignment to Districts 1 is highly selective and reserved for upper-middle class citizens. Higher admission prices apply just to be considered, and bribes are heavily encouraged.