In a somewhat unsurprising move, Summit Entertainment announced today that the Hunger Games follow-up has now officially been titled The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The pic is based on author Suzanne Collins’ second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. Brand recognition is everything when it comes to tentpoles, and audiences are consistently treated as though they’re unable to put two-and-two together when the exact same cast returns in a new movie with a different title. Nevertheless, Summit added The Twilight Saga moniker to all the Twilight films, so the move was almost inevitable. Hit the jump for more.
After Gary Ross declined to return given the extremely short prep time before filming begins, Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) was tapped to direct Catching Fire. Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt was recently brought in to do a rewrite on Simon Beaufoy’s (Slumdog Millionaire) adaptation of the Collins novel, with production set to begin in August. Catching Fire is certainly the most cinematic of Collins’ books, but it also suffers from some character and story issues that only become more problematic in the closing chapter, Mockingjay (likely to be split into two films). I’m eager to see how far Lawrence is willing to adapt Catching Fire rather than just simply translating the book to screen, and I’m also interested to see how much of Ross’ visual style from The Hunger Games he’ll retain.
Though we don’t yet know what changes to the source material have been made, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland are most certainly returning for the follow-up. It would also be safe to assume that Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, and Stanely Tucci will return as well, though their characters are less integral to the story so I wouldn’t be shocked if any of their roles are diminished or nixed entirely. Then there’s the question of the major new characters the have yet to be cast, though I assume we’ll be hearing word on that front shortly. Read a synopsis for Catching Fire below. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will open on November 22nd, 2013.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. [Amazon]