When I first heard that Lionsgate is throwing around the idea of a Hunger Games and Divergent theme park, my initial response was positive. That's like, a YA dream, right? But then my smart person brain started kicking in as well, and I was like, "Wait, how do you turn a dystopia into a theme park?" If what you have in mind is a habitat full of kids trying to kill each other, we already have that — just give every child in Disneyland an overdose on sugar, and you'll wind up with a real life Hunger Games.
But I'm far from the first person to be cynical about this idea, so ,instead of scoffing at it and writing it off, I decided to spend some time thinking about how it could actually be pulled off. Lionsgate does have some ideas of their own, as according to the New York Times, plans were put in motion for these themed exhibitions three years ago, when the first Hunger Games movies came out. Now, they're looking at parks in the Middle East (Motiongate, opening 2016), China (an "experience center," opening late 2018), and Atlanta (Avatron Smart Park, opening 2019). The concepts I've seen described are everything from a recreation of District 12, with Peeta Mellark's bakery and the Hob black market, to rollercoasters mimicking the high-speed trains to the Capitol, to hovercraft tours of Panem, all of which sound perfectly fun to me.
Here are a couple other ways I feel like these theme parks could be made fun and not scary.
1. Focus On The Training Aspect
Remember those training rooms that all the tributes use in the lead up to the Games? I feel like there's an interesting way to incorporate all those skills, like more of a ropes course thing than a standard ride. Obviously, there wouldn't be real weapons, but there would be obstacles to work around.
2. Laser Tag
We do have a game already where people pretend to try to get each other, and it's laser tag. What if there was a version of that where you could shoot (fake) arrows at people? I would totally play that.
3. A Josh Hutcherson Kissing Booth
Of course, with the real Josh Hutcherson! You can't say this isn't a great idea.
4. Announcements Beamed Into The Sky
Sure, this was the way the dead were announced during the Games, but it's also a fun way to project information that the whole park could see — if they could figure out a way to do it.
5. Each Section Of The Park Could Be A Different District
We learn so little about so many of them that the creators could have a lot of creative liberty with what they would look like!
At the end of the day, no matter what decisions Lionsgate and the people in charge of planning these parks make, it will be OK. After all, people were nervous about the dark content of the books and the movies as well, and look how well that turned out.
Images: Lionsgate; Giphy (5)