Why Battle Royale won’t work as a TV show

I’m a big fan of Battle Royale and can’t help but find it amusing that Hollywood tried to bring the film back just as Hunger Games was hitting theaters.

In fact, when I first started learning about The Hunger Games, my first reaction was, “This sounds like Battle Royale light,” because BR is indeed a hardcore movie, one that the kids reading the Hunger Games would probably find pretty disturbing.

I remembered hearing about Battle Royale and how it wasn’t going to come out in the States, especially after Columbine. Once I finally tracked down a copy and saw it, I could immediately see why. No way a movie like that was going to get released here after Columbine, especially considering Fight Club got so much heat that year as well. Also one of the last taboos in films is killing kids, and seeing a whole group of kids killing each other off until one or two’s left alive? No way.


So I was surprised to read here on TG and elsewhere that Battle Royale is in development to become a TV show, especially considering the baggage that comes with the movie, as well as with the shooting in Colorado. 

Entertainment Weekly just reported that CW would “love to do” a Royale TV show, but you get the feeling the network is trying to jump on the Hunger Games bandwagon, and that the people involved may not be aware of what a brutal film Royale is.


Last year, there was news Warner Brothers was going to make a three part version of Stephen King’s The Stand, written and directed by the Harry Potter team of Steve Kloves and David Yates, and if they think The Stand’s going to be the next Harry Potter, somebody better get them the Cliffnotes in hurry.


In fact, as EW reports, one reporter confronted the President of the CW, and said, “You know what Battle Royale is about, right? You aren’t really going to have a show at this moment in the media landscape that’s about high school kids killing other high school kids, are you?”

The official response was, “We’re not planning to do anything we cannot get on the air. So the answer to that question is, no, we’re not going to go in that direction.” Okay, then what on earth do they think they’re making here?


There’s also another Hunger Games style show in the works called The Selection, which EW tells us is a combination of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor. This seems somewhat better suited for regular TV audiences looking for something much lighter than Battle Royale, which could indeed have a much harder road to TV than many probably expect, especially if they haven’t seen the movie yet.