Collins says that she drew inspiration for the series from both classical and contemporary sources. The main classical source of inspiration came from the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. As a punishment for past crimes, Minos forces Athens to sacrifice seven youths and seven maidens to the Minotaur, by whom they are killed in a vast labyrinth. Collins says that even as a child the idea stunned her since "it was just so cruel", as Athens was forced to sacrifice its own children.
Collins also cites the Roman gladiator games. She feels that there are three key elements to create a good game; an all powerful and ruthless government, people forced to fight to the death, and it being a source of popular entertainment.
A contemporary source of inspiration was Collins's recent fascination with reality television programmes. She relates this to the Hunger Games in how they are not just entertainment, but also a reminder to the districts of their rebellion. On a tired night, Collins says that while she was channel-surfing the television where she saw people competing for some prize, and then saw footage of the Iraq war. She described how the two combined in an "unsettling way" to create the first ideas for the series.
The first novel was published on September 14, 2008. On March 17, 2009, Lionsgate announced that it had acquired worldwide distribution rights of the film version of The Hunger Games from the film company Color Force. Soon after the acquisition, Collins began to adapt the screenplay and the two companies later went on to co-produce the film.
Catching Fire was published by Scholastic on September 1, 2009. The film version of the story – also co-produced by Color Force and Lionsgate – was released in November 2013.
Mockingjay was published in hardcover by Scholastic on August 24, 2010. The film version was being split into two parts, both co-produced by Color Force and Lionsgate, Mockingjay - Part 1 which was released on November 21, 2014 and Mockingjay - Part 2 which will be released on November 20, 2015.
As of October 2014, the trilogy has sold over 65 million copies in the United States.