Lionsgate has chosen a release date for high-profile event picture The Hunger Games: March 23, 2012. Gary Ross is directing the feature adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling young adult tome. Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy of science fiction novels that have developed a global following. Similar to the classic Japanese political thriller Battle Royale, the pic is set in post-apocalyptic America, Hunger Games introduces 16-year-old heroine Katniss Everdeen, who must participate in a fight-to-the-death annual event called the Hunger Games. The battles are televised, and pit youths from each of the Capitol’s 12 Districts against each other. There are more than 3.3 million copies of Hunger Games in print in the U.S. alone, while foreign rights have been sold in 41 countries, according to publisher Scholastic. Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) is set to begin shooting the film in late spring or summer, although no cast has been announced, including the coveted role of Kantiss.