It has been very busy lately down in the world of Panem.
Yesterday, Philip Seymour Hoffman was confirmed to be joining The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee and today, Lionsgate have announced the release date for the third part in their epic series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. They have also confirmed that it will be split into two parts. Part 1 will bow on November 21st, 2014 with Part 2 rounding out the saga on November 20th, 2015.
The Hunger Games was a surprise box office hit for Lionsgate, with worldwide grosses now just under $700 million, so I can understand the reason to split the final book into two films. Plus, it continues the trend of popular teenage literature franchise having their final chapters being carved into two films, following on from Harry Potter and Twilight.
However, if the first two books can suffice with just one film, is the final book in The Hunger Games saga really deserving of two? And, because of this, is it in danger of becoming the next big teen phenomenon that everyone gets sick of hearing about?
For now, not really. On a pure cinema level, The Hunger Games offered to me as a viewer, a political philosophy that runs far deeper than those present in the Harry Potter and the Twilight franchise. With material that is courting very talented people, Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t sign on for blockbusters that much, these are signs that The Hunger Games franchise has legs beyond its terrific first instalment and has enough steam to fill 3 more films.
Currently, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 are still without a director. Francis Lawrence will be directing the second film, although like the Twilight franchise, it is very likely another director will be hired to complete the story.
The second film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starts shooting this Fall and will be released on November 22nd, 2013.