Lionsgate just announced that Catching Fire, the second movie in the Hunger Games series, won’t be released until November 22, 2013. That’s more than two years from now, and twenty months after the first movie, which comes out March 23, 2012. Why the delay?!
The press release doesn’t delve into the reasoning behind spacing the first two movies so far apart. The only specific thing that Lionsgate’s reps say about the movie, actually, is that their hope is to draw in families during the Thanksgiving holiday. But they could have aimed to have it out on Thanksgiving 2012, especially when you consider how much time goes by between books.
Catching Fire takes place almost immediately where Hunger Games leaves off, so Lionsgate could have followed the final two Harry Potter films’ example by putting about eight months between their release dates. To have the audiences wait almost two years to get back into Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) head could throw a wrench into the transition, especially because Catching Fire is considered the slowest of the three books.
Plus, since the second book takes place in another Arena — that’s all I’ll say without delving into actual spoilers — it really shouldn’t be that difficult to recreate the Games on-set in North Carolina.
It’s unclear if the decision were influenced by scheduling conflicts from any of the actors. Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth all have a few upcoming projects apiece, but nothing monumental. We thought that the conflict might lie with Donald Sutherland, since President Snow has a much bigger part in the second movie, but The Hunger Games is his latest project according to his IMDb page. The only person whose schedule might mess things up would be Stanley Tucci, who will be filming Jack the Giant Killer in Gloucestershire — but his character, Caesar Flickerman, is only in certain parts of the story.
We reached out to Lionsgate for any more information, but they told us, “It’s simply the best date for the movie.”
Although Mockingjay also picks up at the ending of Catching Fire, its story and tone are so different that it makes sense for there to be some distance between films. But we better not have to wait til 2014 for that one!