Jennifer Lawrence

Hunger Games seems poised to become the next worldwide box office smash. But is the franchise, based on a series of young adult books by Suzanne Collins too violent?

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The film is set in a dystopian future where a cruel government holds an annual televised battle to the death among children. The film's heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) takes her sister's place in the competition against 23 kids, including fellow District 12 resident, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). 

While violence is central that story, Lawrence thinks it serves a purpose. "It's the violence and the brutality (which) is the heart of the film, because it's what gets the people angry to start an uprising and to start a revolution," she told Reuters at the European premiere of the film. "I do think the violence and brutality is justified, but I understand if everybody has a different standard for ratings."

See pictures from the film's Hollywood and London premieres

And Lawrence isn't the only member of the cast who thinks so. "It's not overly gruesome or brutal but it is part of the story in some way," says Hutcherson.

In the United States, Hunger Games received a PG-13 rating "for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens," while in Britain, the film managed to obtain a "12A" rating (suitable for children 12 and over), only after cutting seven seconds of footage featuring wounds and bloodied weapons, according to Reuters.

Hunger Games will be released in theaters on March 23. Do you think it will be suitable for young children?