Lionsgate's highly-anticipated project The Hunger Games continues to move forward with a release date now confirmed for March 23, 2012. Gary Ross is directing this adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name.

Billy Ray adapted the novel, which follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl who is forced to represent her region in the annual Hunger Games event, where participants must fight to the death. In this futuristic world, traditional government has gone by the wayside and America is split into 12 regions, each of which must send young boys and girls to this deadly battle each year.

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Despite the violent nature of the book, we reported earlier this month that director Gary Ross was aiming for a more PG-13 approach to the material. The Hunger Games is the first installment in Suzanne Collins novel trilogy. The Hunger Games has sold over 3.3 million copies in the United States alone and has been sold in 41 other countries as well.

The Hunger Games will begin production either in the late spring or early summer. No casting announcements have been made at this time.