The Hunger Games is a massively popular franchise – selling more than 65 million copies of the book trilogy, and grossing over $2 billion worldwide through the film franchise, but even fans of the series were left scratching their head when an announcement came of a Hunger Games theme park to be built in the Atlanta Metro area.
The Hunger Games series centers largely on a dystopian society wherein children are forced to compete in an annual televised death match. When Lionsgate Entertainment announced an interactive park based on the series, it left many wondering just what that would look like.
Avatron Smart Park
The park, called Avatron Smart Park, is set to open by 2019. It’s not an entirely unusual concept – the Harry Potter expansion has been wildly successful at Florida’s Universal Studios park. Creating the futuristic scape would certainly be something to see, but when someone is proposing a park based on forced ritualized child bloodshed, there’s still the pressing matter of how the Hunger Games, themselves, will be addressed.
This is a factor that has yet to be addressed by the park developers, who state designs for rides are still in the early stages, though they do vaguely claim that as an enterprise they are not adverse to the Hunger Games’ darker undertones.
Despite no real announcements of park features, the Avatron team has big ambitions for the park, claiming it will be immersive, interactive, and technology-driven, with a $625 million budget to, as developers say, mix perception and reality. It remains to be seen whether the reality of the Hunger Games is what fans will want.
The Park In Atlanta
Bleak undertones notwithstanding, $625 million is a massive amount to be infusing into the Metro area, so what does this park mean for Atlanta and its residents? Located on a 700-acre property just west of I-75 in Bartow County, the park is going to be a massive attraction for the small county.
It could also be a source of increased jobs, increased local revenue, increased traffic, and increased densification in an area that, despite its proximity to the city has remained relatively small town.
None of these are inherently good or bad unto themselves. They’re all going to depend largely on how the Avatron team goes about developing and staffing the park. Since Lionsgate is relatively new in the entertainment industry, there aren’t any comparables for how they’ve handled these situations in the past.
Studies on other areas, though, show that the theme park balance is a difficult one strike. Up to a point, the infusion of foreign capital brings in money that the area wouldn’t see without increased tourism. Businesses that were once struggling – small town hotels, restaurants, etc., are often struck with an influx of cash depending upon the park’s success.
Beyond that point, the region begins to suffer with overuse of local resources, a population that becomes dependent on seasonal employment. Even increased tax revenue has to be properly distributed to ensure that it reaches all parts of the community, and until that plan is in place, it’s difficult to tell what this park will bring.
It’s an intriguing concept, but just how well will a Hunger Games based theme park do in Atlanta, and what will it do for the metro area? Only time will tell.