Lionsgate’s film adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games have never been shy about interacting with fans or using viral marketing to increase the hype around their wares. In an unusual move, but one that is admittedly pretty cool, the studio has unveiled a new poster for the upcoming sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Instead of using traditional means like trade publications or big movie websites, they let one of the franchise’s many fans release the first look.
The film’s viral website, TheHungerGamesExplore.com, is an interactive destination where fans can go to participate in contests, share content like fan art, and generally explore every facet of their favorite movies and books. According to Lionsgate, the top fan is a girl name Tori Dripple, and as a reward for her rabid fandom, they let her give the world the first look at a new outdoor poster via her Tumblr. You have to imagine that’s a damn big thrill for the number one fan of The Hunger Games, at least by this one measuring stick.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire won’t be released in theaters for another two months, but it’s already predicted to be on pace to make almost $1 billion worldwide. In more than a year since the release of the first Hunger Games movie, the story of Katniss Everdeen has exploded into the wide world of pop culture.
According to The Playlist, Alan Gould of the investment group Evercore predicts that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will gross at least $950 million worldwide, with $375 million of that coming from domestic movie receipts and $575 million coming in from international movie markets. Surprisingly, $375 million prediction is less than the $408 million domestic box office grosses of the first Hunger Games in 2012. The Hunger Games grossed $691.2 million worldwide.
Of course, this gigantic number isn’t set in stone, and it’s possible Catching Fire might under-perform. We still don’t know the production budget of Catching Fire, but just looking at its trailers and viral marketing, it could be considerably larger than The Hunger Games‘ $78 million budget.
It was reported before, as a deal that was in progress, but now it’s official, Julianne Moore is joining The Hunger Games family for the two-part finale, Mockingjay Parts One and Two. Lionsgate has announced that the Academy Award-nominated actress will play President Alma Coin, the leader of the rogue, independent, District 13. For serious this time.
For those of you that haven’t read Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of young adult novels, District 13 was a region of the nation of Panem—think the post-apocalyptic remains of the United States—that specialized in nuclear technology. They were the heart of the rebellion in the Dark Days, and in the aftermath, the other 12 districts were led to believe that it had been destroyed. Due to their ability to retaliate with weapons of mass destruction, the Capital lets it be in return for their remaining hidden.
The summer moviegoing season is finally winding to a close, with some unexpected victors (http://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/topic/world-war-z), some awesome surprises (Europa Report), and some big fat duds (R.I.P.D: Budget estimated at $130 million, worldwide gross of $59 million). Now it’s time to look forward to fall. For the movies, that mainly means Oscar bait and interesting smaller films; on the TV front it means new shows. Some will succeed, some will fail…and we hope at least one of them will actually be good. Here’s what to look forward to in the final months of 2013!
Riddick (September 6)
After Chronicles of Riddick bombed at the box office in 2004 — it took in $92 million worldwide, against a $105 million budget — it looked like the adventures of the anti-heroic Richard B. Riddick were done on the big screen. Instead, director David Twohy and star Vin Diesel have resurrected the franchise pretty much through sheer force of will (and the leveraging of Diesel’s house). Riddick looks to be a return to the formula that worked so well the first time: Riddick being a badass and killing things in the dark. Twohy and Diesel obviously still have big plans for the character, so here’s hoping if we get a fourth one, it finds a way to mix the best elements of Chronicles and Pitch Black.
If the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire isn’t the biggest movie of this fall, it’s destined to be near the top. After all, the first one raked in $691 million worldwide, so expectations are rather elevated. All the recent talk of the knock offs and pretenders to the dystopian young adult throne—films like Divergent and The Maze Runner—seems to have momentarily overshadowed the second installment in Suzanne Collins’ massive YA franchise, but Lionsgate is back to remind you of who is really number one. The latest tidbit from Panem is a super banner that depicts all of the various tributes to this installment of the Hunger Games. (Click HERE for a larger view.)
In this high-profile sequel, the annual competition that pits young people against one another in a winner-takes-all death match, takes on a different form. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Games, the so-called Quarter Quell, and every 25 years, the powers that be in the Capital like to do something special for the oppressed masses out in the Districts, to give them a real show. Instead of simply picking a random male and female teen from each district, the field this time around is made up entirely of previous winners.