‘Hunger Games’ set for 2012 release

Futuristic actioner to open March 23 next year

Lionsgate has set a March 23, 2012, release date for futuristic actioner “The Hunger Games.”

Gary Ross is directing the mini-major’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel of the same name. Lionsgate hasn’t yet cast the pic.

Lionsgate acquired the feature rights in 2009 and set the project up with Nina Jacobson at her Color Force banner, with Collins adapting her own novel, the first in a trilogy.

“The Hunger Games” takes place in a society in which districts pay tribute in the form of a teen boy and girl who are forced to fight to the death on live TV. The second installment, “Catching Fire,” was published in 2009; the third, “Mockingjay,” was released in August.

Lionsgate currently has the date to itself. U’s “Contraband” and Sony’s “21 Jump Street” are set for March 16, 2012. Warner Bros.’ “Clash of the Titans 2” and Paramount’s animated “The Croods” have been dated for March 30, 2012.

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