FIRST LOOK: Lionsgate's $700 Million Baby 'The Hunger Games'

“The Hunger Games” is a massively popular trilogy of young-adult novels by Suzanne Collins, with 12 million copies in print.

And if all goes according to Lionsgate’s plan, it will soon be a massively popular trilogy of films as well.

An article in the new issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine details the huge investment studio Lionsgate is making in the first film, which is set to be released in March 2012.

With the film industry confronting a depressed box office this year, they’re not the only ones hoping “The Hunger Games” will be the next “Harry Potter,” either.

The books and film centre around a bow-wielding heroine named Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Everdeen must survive a televised contest in a post-apocalyptic America in which children play a deadly game of Last Man Standing.

Part of Lionsgate's effort to get in front of the expense was by selling international distribution rights immediately. The studio has about $30 million at risk, with a likely $40 million to be spent on marketing.

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