"Hunger Games" success "mind-blowing" for Hutcherson

Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:11pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Josh Hutcherson never realized when he took on the role of Peeta Mellark in "The Hunger Games" how big an impact the post-apocalyptic survival film would have on popular culture.

The actor, 19, still finds it "mind-blowing" that the movie based on the best-selling sci-fi novels by author Suzanne Collins became a box office hit in theaters this past March, taking in $685 million worldwide.

The movie sees rebellious teen heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) fight in a televised battle-to-the-death that has been ordered by a totalitarian government. In the process, she becomes a beacon of hope for freedom. Hutcherson portrays Peeta, Katniss' fighting partner and love interest.

The DVD is set for release just after midnight on Friday, packed with bonus features and interviews, and the film sequel, "Catching Fire," is due in theaters in November 2013.

Hutcherson spoke to Reuters about the cultural impact of the franchise and creating on-screen chemistry with Lawrence.

Q: You've had a few months to consider the success of "The Hunger Games." Are you surprised at how well the movie has done?

A: "It's still mind-blowing to me. I think we all kind of knew there was a pretty big fan base for the books, but I never expected people to be this crazy about it and it to be this successful. Our main goal was to make a great movie and I think that's what we did."

Q: Which aspects of "The Hunger Games" story do you think resonate most deeply with fans of today's pop culture?   Continued...

Actor Josh Hutcherson accepts the Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Award at the Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson amphitheater in Universal City, California July 22, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni