Earlier today Lionsgate announced that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 will be released in IMAX (yah!) and IMAX 3D (sigh), but now Deadline has an update on the original report and it could mean even bigger things for the franchise. The outlet is reporting that Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts that there could be more Hunger Games movies on the way because he’s “actively looking at some development and thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities.”
The Hunger Games movies have earned more than $2.2 billion at the global box office, so it makes sense that Lionsgate would want to keep it going, but it could be a risky endeavor, especially from a story perspective. A prequel could work. I’ve always wondered what went down during previous Hunger Games, particularly the very first one and the Games that Finnick (Sam Claflin) won. The major down side to making a prequel is that Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and the rest of the fan favorites from the original films would be long gone. Then again, no matter what route the company goes, it seems unlikely that such in-demand actors would keep making Hunger Games films regardless.
And a sequel just won’t work. I’m not going to spoil the conclusion of the third book, but it doesn’t end in a way that leaves you thinking, “I need to know what happens next.” In fact, I bet what happens next is pretty boring. Hunger Games isn’t like Harry Potter. The books never tease a wealth of interesting locations, creatures and characters that could spark a worthy, somewhat fresh feeling spinoff like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s really just the Games and Panem and by the time Mockingjay – Part 2 comes and goes, we’ll have spent at least 530 minutes exploring them.
Another major concern is that if Feltheimer really does get to move forward with a prequel and/or a sequel, it would come across as a cash grab. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I enjoy Divergent, but I also can’t argue with people who call it a subpar Hunger Games. Until we hear more about what these “prequel and sequel possibilities” are, it’s hard not to assume that this is just a desperate attempt to keep a good thing going. The Hunger Games was a game changer for Lionsgate. Once the franchise comes to a close, there goes a good deal of the company’s box office profits. They really do need to have a hit and it doesn’t look as though The Divergent Series will do the trick.