The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the biggest blockbusters of the year! The sequel film has already made $573 million worldwide and is poised to make over $1 billion when all is said and done. There are even people out there who are calling it the “Empire Strikes Back” of the Hunger Games film franchise. If you’ve seen the film, you can easily see that more money has been poured into the production, with grander set pieces, heavier action, and more luxurious art design.
Much of Catching Fire‘s can be attributed to Dawn Brown, one of the sequel film’s set designers and concept/costume artists. Brown previously worked on The Last Airbender, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot. In an interview with Film Sketchr, Brown talked about Panem’s overall look. Part of the challenge for Catching Fire was to establish a new look, but keep it in line with the first Hunger Games movie. Brown explains:
‘These films are coming out a year apart, so we really have to keep moving. And thankfully we have a very close art department. Phil Messina is the production designer, and I’ve been a part of his crew for many years. There’s a kind of shorthand — an efficiency — that develops when the crew is all on the same page. We’ve been working very hard to establish a vocabulary, a stylistic foundation for Katniss’ world. Once that foundation is established, we are free to build on it and push it and break it and make it bigger, better, cooler, with each film. There is definitely an effort to be respectful to the books, yet we want to surprise people with something new as well.
Catching Fire‘s concept art (shown below) gives you a better idea of how the film’s art department married a futuristic look with the despair and poverty of Panem. Everything about Catching Fire seems markedly bigger and better than the original film, which was directed by Gary Ross. For the first time in the film series, audiences are treated to the future technology of The Hunger Games, including hovercrafts, futuristic life bays, and a spinning coastal arena.
Dawn Brown will also work on the costume concepts for X-Men: Days of Future Past and Transformers: Age of Extinction, which are both due in theaters during the summer of 2014. Of course, Brown’s work can also be seen in The Hunger Games‘ next installment, the first part of Mockingjay, in 2014 as well.
Meanwhile, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had another big week during the Thanksgiving holiday. The sequel film took in an additional $74.5 million, only dropping 52% from its debut weekend of $161 million. Catching Fire was also the #1 film of the week, just beating out Disney’s Frozen, which opened at $66.7 million during the holiday weekend. Rounding out the top five big box office earners were Thor: The Dark World, Best Man Holiday, and the action film Homefront, starring Jason Statham.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is in theaters now, while Mockingjay – Part One will hit theaters everywhere next year on November 21, 2014. Both films are also presented in glorious IMAX. You can read our review of Catching Fire right here.