Girl gone missing: Where is Katniss on ‘The Hunger Games’ movie poster?

Here’s the movie poster:

Here’s the book cover:

At least the book isn’t by S. Collins, right? I suppose we should be grateful for that.

According to Google images, there are other movie posters that show the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, but I haven’t seen one anywhere around the Bay Area. Have you? Please let me know if you do see one and even better, send me a photo.

According to the Wall Street Journal: The publisher, Scholastic, considered dozens of cover designs, including portraits of Katniss, before settling on a more ‘iconic’ image of a bird pendant that plays a role in the story.

Lion’s Gate is hopeful that in spite of the female protagonist, males will go see “The Hunger Games:”

“Set in a dystopian future, “The Hunger Games” centers on Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl who is called upon to fight 23 other teens to the death in a twisted annual survival competition that is televised to the nation of Panem. The quick pace, strong characters and blood sport of author Suzanne Collins’s trilogy helped attract a robust male readership.”

In some ways, I think that the marketing strategy is great news, because they are not playing up the romance to attract females to the movie.

“They’ve taken away the love story and focused on the hero, who, by virtue of her altruism and fire, is going to stand up against this situation,” says Vincent Bruzzese, president of Ipsos MediaCT’s Motion Picture Group, which does market research for movie studios and filmmakers. “What they are doing is marketing the archetypal themes that are gender-neutral.”

If “gender neutral” means not playing up the love story to attract females, I’m all for that.

Jezebel posts: “Maybe, though, it’d be encouraging to see a movie with a dominant female lead transcend the demographic corrals studio analysts have split us all into.”

Absolutely! Moving past those limited “demographic corrals” would be great. If I have to give up Katniss on the movie poster, I suppose that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I have high expectations for this movie.

I’m half way through the book and I love it. Katniss is smart, cool, complex, beautiful and a total bad ass. She is not a Token Feisty. In the narrative, she is never referred to as unusual or an exception of her gender because of she’s brave and skillful. I’ve continually asked on this blog if there are imaginary worlds where sexism doesn’t exist. Though Panem is a dystopia, this may be it.

I do look forward to the day when a female protagonist can show up on her own poster or book cover without scaring boys away.

Also, while I understand the marketing strategy for “The Hunger Games” it’s unacceptable for the exact same kind of invisible female sexism have such a powerful influence on movies for little kids. Parents should not let five year old boys have the power to make five year old girls invisible. And this isn’t really about five year old boys anyway, but their parents. It’s parents who buy books, buy movie tickets, and buy toys. It’s absurd for movie posters for kids to continuously picture no girls at all or girls on the sidelines as do almost all of the children’s movies in 2011. Just because adults live is a sexist world doesn’t mean our kids have to. At the very least, adults should be trying much harder to present the next generation with imaginary worlds where females are not a tiny minority. Girls are, after all, half of the kid population. It’s time for Hollywood to recognize that.

18 thoughts on “Girl gone missing: Where is Katniss on ‘The Hunger Games’ movie poster?

  1. Also, I’d like to point out that the convention of authors using their first initial (as opposed to their whole name) is quite common in the U.K. First initials are used more commonly there in a variety of circumstances, including mundane things like addressing mail, etc. Is there a trend among female authors to omit their full names for fear of sexism?

  2. Yesterday I took a photo of a billboard at Melrose and Highland in Hollywood. It prominently features Katniss with her bow and arrow. A few blocks north and the same poster was plastered all over the side of a building site. I haven’t yet seen the poster you featured yesterday (without Katniss). Looks like the film is being very heavily promoted in the Los Angeles area with Katniss as the draw!

    How do I email the photo to you?

  3. I get where you’re coming from with the invisible girl thing, but on the other hand, the symbol is hardly inappropriate given the entire trilogy.

    I LOVE the fact that a THINKING heroine has become so popular. Brain driven women don’t always make it in pop culture.

    Now, as far as the general marketing of the book with the tie ins, magazine articles and spinoffs? I could just about POP at how the media is NOT GETTING the message of the books in the first place. Dear heavens…

  4. To be fair, the symbol will resonate with fans of the book more than a photo of any of the characters would. The real test will be when the movie tie-in versions of the book come out in a few months. Will they highlight Katniss, or Peeta?

    When there’s a new movie version of a beloved book, the posters often initially show some symbol associated with it, rather than the photo of the actor, who has not yet been identified with the character. For example, if you look at the original Harry Potter posters, they showed an owl holding his Hogwarts letter rather than Daniel Radcliffe. It was only later, after people got to know Radcliffe as Harry that you saw more posters with him.

  5. About an hour ago, while I was on my way home, a bus passed me and there was a poster for The Hunger Games on the side of it. It had the movie title on it, and then to the left it had a huge picture of Katniss, and of Katniss only. I smiled and immdiately thought how great that was and then I thought of your blog. Now I’m just thinking about the weird coincidence. Anyway, I hope you see the same poster I saw today around your area.
    (By the way, I live in England, and I really hope that the poster I saw wasn’t a UK-only thing. I don’t think it was, but it could be.)

    • Hi Irene,

      So excited to hear about thus poster in the UK, would love a photo (hint, hint) On my FB page, someone wrote that Katniss is on the paperback UK book. I have never seen her on the pb book here but will keep looking and looking for her on posters as well.


      • Hi. 🙂
        I’ll try to get that picture for you then.
        Yeah, I think there are definitely some covers featuring Katniss somewhere, but just to confuse us all there’s also a version with a blond person on the front that I think is supposed to be Peeta.
        I’m sad to say though that those versions are no longer widely sold since they released the new covers (I think they’re supposed to look more like the US ones), and there’s no Katniss to be seen anywhere now. Sad, isn’t it? I quite liked the version with Katniss, especially because they don’t have her in a silly pose.
        Anyway, if you google ‘the hunger games UK cover’ you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about.


  6. Hi Margot,

    I have a son in 4th grade and alot of his friends (his class is all boys) have read this book. It’s really popular. He asked if he could read it and I told him I needed to read it first. While I liked the book, I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids. It’s for teenagers and adults. So, he’ll have to wait. Men and boys will definitely see the movie. Yes, it would be interesting to have Katniss on the poster or to call the movie Katniss and see if that effected the number of males that wanted to see it. I think it wouldn’t. But movies are so expensive to make that studios can’t take that “risk”. She’s the main character and the story is told from her pov. So sad that that’s considered a risk! Please let us know your take when you finish the book.

    Megan (Fitzgerald) Crossman

    • Hi Megan,

      I agree, the book is really scary. I won’t let my eight year old read it, that is for sure. I don’t really mind that much that Katniss is not on the poster or book cover, though I look forward to the she could be.


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