Before it is even released in the U.S. theaters, "The Hunger Games" was hit with criticism from The American Federation of Musicians (AFM). On Tuesday, December 20, the union protested the highly anticipated movie and Lionsgate Films for recording the original score for the film outside the U.S.
In a formal video posted on YouTube, AFM international president Raymond M. Hair, Jr. blasted Lionsgate for deciding to record the score in London instead of the U.S. He claimed the movie is being designed to avoid contractual minimums for fair wages, and royalty payments that American musicians would receive.
He says in the video, "The movie takes place in the future, in Appalachia. But for the Americana, Appalachian-style music the movie needs, Lionsgate is going to Europe, so that the company can escape having to provide health care and pension contributions, fair wages, and royalty payments, benefits that everyone else working on 'The Hunger Games' will most certainly receive."
"The new AFM administration is committed to reaching out the publicizing the advantages of hiring AFM musicians and exposing the immoral, unethical and unjust practice of looking to professional musicians to fatten the wallets of entertainment industry executives," Hair claimed. "Lionsgate can afford to do the right thing for musicians. They do it for everyone else."
Hair said that "Hunger Games" was shot in North Carolina on tax subsidies. "It's not right for a $20 billion company like Lionsgate to go to Europe on taxpayer dollars and deprive the finest musicians in the world, AFM musicians, of a decent living," he added. "It's an American movie, with American actors, and American crews, with a soundtrack that's uniquely American, going to Europe to record the music. It's just plain wrong."
"Hunger Games" is directed by Gary Ross with Billy Ray penning the script. The story revolves around Katniss Everdeen who replaces his sister Prim in a live-televised annual brutal game in the state of Panem. Jennifer Lawrence is cast as Katniss. She is joined by Josh Hutcherson as Katniss' partner Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as her best friend Gale Hawthorne. The film is due to arrive in theaters across the U.S. on March 23, 2012.