Anyone who has watched any trailers or TV spots for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire can see that the sequel film looks so much better than the first Hunger Games movie. The special effects look better, the film’s scope seems bigger, and even the film’s costumes and art direction looks slicker than the first film. Considering that The Hunger Games was a breakthrough hit in 2012, it stands to reason that Lionsgate would pony up more money for its sequel. Well, it appears that the movie studio might have invested more than what is considered usual for Hollywood blockbuster sequels.
According to THR, the production budget for Catching Fire is reported to be upwards of $130 million. When compared to the production budget of The Hunger Games in 2012, which was $78 million, Lionsgate invested an additional $52 million into Catching Fire.
You can see where that money went when you watch any trailer or TV spot from the sequel. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and film chiefs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger added an extra $10 million to the film’s visual effects. Its star Jennifer Lawrence also received a hefty pay raise for returning to the film franchise. Lawrence received $500,000, plus box office bonuses, for her work on The Hunger Games for director Gary Ross. For Catching Fire, the 23-year-old Academy Award winner received a $10 million payday to reprise her role as Katniss Everdeen.
Catching Fire‘s scope is far grander than The Hunger Games. The film’s new director, Francis Lawrence, increased the production schedule from 84 to 89 days. Catching Fire does more globetrotting than its predecessor, shooting in North Carolina, Georgia, and Hawaii, as opposed to the original film’s North Carolina shoot.
Catching Fire is on track to make almost $1 billion, with an estimated worldwide box office of over $950 million. The first Hunger Games film took in an impressive $691.2 million worldwide, with $408 million of that figure coming from domestic theaters in 2012. Conversely, Catching Fire is on track to make more internationally. Since this is only an estimated box office gross, it’s more than likely that the sequel film will make more than initially believed, with pre-sale tickets outpacing any other wide release.
The big question is, will Lionsgate’s investment in Catching Fire reap rewards as big? With an estimated $130 million production budget, the Hunger Games‘ sequel film has to catch fire at the box office this November.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate and Variety have also released new portrait images of some of the characters from Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence is, literally, the girl on fire with her trusty bow and arrow, while Johanna Mason and Peeta Mellark enjoy glamorous black & white profiles. The portraits also feature Effie Trinket and a Capitol guard in full and bright colors.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire features actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen, Amanda Plummer, Alan Ritchson, Willow Shields, and Sam Claflin.
The sequel film will hit theaters everywhere on November 22, in glorious IMAX.