The Hunger Games (film series)

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The Hunger Games
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
Based on The Hunger Games trilogy 
by Suzanne Collins
Music by James Newton Howard
Edited by
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release dates
  • 1: March 23, 2012 (2012-03-23)
  • 2: November 22, 2013
  • 3: November 21, 2014
  • 4: November 20, 2015
Running time 288 minutes (2 films)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $208 million (1-2)
$458 million (1-4)
Box office $1,555,813,431

The Hunger Games is a series of science-fiction film dystopian action adventure films from Lionsgate based on The Hunger Games novels by the American author Suzanne Collins. The series is produced by Nina Jacobson and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as the three leading characters, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne. Two directors worked on the series; Gary Ross directed the first film and Francis Lawrence directed the next three films.[1]

The first film, The Hunger Games, was released on March 23, 2012 and set records for opening day ($67.3 million) and biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel film. At the time of its release, the film's opening weekend gross ($152.5 million) was the third-largest of any film in North America. The film was both a critical and box office success.

The second film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, was released on November 22, 2013 and set the record for biggest opening weekend ever in the month of November and the sixth-largest opening of any film in North America at the time, with a total of $158.1 million. The film was both a critical and financial success.

Mockingjay, the third and final novel in the series, will be adapted into two feature-length parts. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 will be released on November 21, 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 will be released on November 20, 2015.


Following the release of Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games on September 14, 2008, film studios in Hollywood began looking to adapt the novel to film. On March 4, 2009, it was reported that Color Force, a small, independent studio founded in 2007 by producer Nina Jacobson, had purchased the film rights to The Hunger Games.[2]:12

Following the purchase of the film rights, Jacobson sought out production company Lionsgate in order to help her make the film. Color Force was too small to produce the film independently and would not be able to distribute it. On March 17, it was reported that Lionsgate would distribute the film.[3] It was also reported that Collins herself would adapt the novel. At that time, she had finished Catching Fire, which was set for release that fall, and was in the process of writing Mockingjay. She would begin the first draft after she finished writing the last book.

The search for a director began in 2010. It was reported in September 2010 that three directors were in the running; David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) and Gary Ross (Seabiscuit).[4] It was later confirmed that Ross would direct.[5] By this time Collins had finished the script, Ross decided to go through the script with Collins and veteran screenwriter Billy Ray.

Casting the main roles[edit]

In October 2010, many actresses received the script. Actual casting occurred between March and May 2011. The first role to be cast was of the main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. It was reported that Abigail Breslin, Emily Browning, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jennifer Lawrence, Chloë Grace Moretz, Emma Roberts, Saoirse Ronan, Kaya Scodelario, Hailee Steinfeld and Shailene Woodley were all in talks to play the part.[6] It was confirmed on March 16 that Jennifer Lawrence had landed the role.[7]

Lawrence was already relatively well-known. She had been nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Winter's Bone (2010) and she had also starred in X-Men: First Class, which was set to be released that May.

The roles of Peeta Mellark, Katniss's fellow tribute, and Gale Hawthorne, her best friend, began casting later that month. Top contenders for Peeta included Josh Hutcherson, Alexander Ludwig (later cast as Cato), Hunter Parrish, Evan Peters and Lucas Till.[8] Contenders for Gale included Robbie Amell, Liam Hemsworth, David Henrie and Drew Roy.[8] On April 4, it was reported that Liam Hemsworth had been cast as Gale and that Josh Hutcherson had been cast as Peeta.[9]


Filming for the franchise began on May 23, 2011 and finished on June 20, 2014.[2]:138

Film Producers Director Screenwriters Novel by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games Jacobson , Nina Nina Jacobson
Jon Kilik
Ross , Gary Gary Ross Suzanne Collins
Gary Ross
Ray , Billy Billy Ray
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Lawrence , Francis Francis Lawrence Beaufoy , Simon Simon Beaufoy
Arndt , Michael Michael Arndt
Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Strong , Danny Danny Strong
Craig , Peter Peter Craig
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik have been producers for all four films in the series. Suzanne Collins and Louise Rosner acted as executive producers on the first two films. Other executive producers of the first film include Robin Bissell and Shantal Feghali. Co-producers are Diana Alvarez, Martin Cohen, Louis Phillips, Bryan Unkeless, and Aldric La'auli Porter.[10] Color Force and Lionsgate collaborated on all four films. It was announced on November 1, 2012 that the studio had decided to split the final book Mockingjay into two parts, much like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Parts 1 and 2, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Parts 1 and 2.[11]


Gary Ross directed the first film The Hunger Games and despite initially stating otherwise on April 10, 2012, Lionsgate announced that Ross would not return to direct the sequel.[12] Nine days later on April 19, 2012 it was confirmed that Francis Lawrence would direct the sequel instead[13] and on November 1, 2012 it was confirmed that he would return and also direct the final two films in the series, based on the novel Mockingjay.[14]


Suzanne Collins began adapting the first book to film after she finished writing Mockingjay. Collins had experience in writing screenplays after writing Clifford's Puppy Days and other children's television shows. When Gary Ross was announced as director for the film in 2010, he began to work with Collins and veteran writer Billy Ray in bringing the novel to life. The script was large and resulted in a two hour and twenty minute movie.

After Francis Lawrence took over as director, he brought in Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt to write the script for the Catching Fire.[15]

The final two films of the series were written by Danny Strong and Peter Craig.[16]


Once the three leads were cast, casting shifted to the other tributes. Jack Quaid was cast as Marvel, Leven Rambin as Glimmer, Amandla Stenberg as Rue, Dayo Okeniy as Thresh.[17] Alexander Ludwig (who auditioned for Peeta) was cast as Cato, Isabelle Fuhrman as Clove,[18] Jacqueline Emerson as Foxface.[19] Following the casting of tributes, the adult cast began to come together. Elizabeth Banks was cast as Effie Trinket, the eccentric District 12 escort.[20] Woody Harrelson was cast as Haymitch Abernathy, District 12's notorious drunk.[21] Lenny Kravitz was cast as Cinna, Katniss's stylist.[22] Wes Bentley was cast as Gamemaker Seneca Crane.[23] Stanley Tucci was cast as Caesar Flickerman, Panem's celebrity host.[24] Donald Sutherland was cast as Coriolanus Snow, the President of Panem.[25] Willow Shields would play Primrose Everdeen.[26]

In July 2012, the cast for the second film was announced. Jena Malone would play Johanna Mason.[27] Philip Seymour Hoffman would play Plutarch Heavensbee,[28] Sam Claflin would play Finnick Odair.[29] It was later announced that Jeffrey Wright was cast as Beetee, Alan Ritchson as Gloss, Lynn Cohen as Mags and Amanda Plummer as Wiress.

In March 2013, it was widely rumoured that Rebel Wilson would play a part in the final film.[30] In August and September 2013, it was revealed that Stef Dawson would play Annie Cresta,[31] Natalie Dormer will play Cressida,[32] Evan Ross will play Messalla, and Julianne Moore will be President Alma Coin[33] in the final film.


Principal photography of The Hunger Games began on May 24, 2011 and concluded on September 15, 2011. Almost all filming took place in North Carolina. All of the Games scenes were filmed on location. All of the Capitol scenes were filmed in a studio in Shelby and Charlotte.

Principal photography for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire began on September 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia[34] and concluded in April 2013. In November 2012, production moved to Hawaii to film the arena scenes. Filming took a Christmas break before filming resumed for two weeks in mid-January. In March 2013, the film went back to Hawaii for re-shoots.[35] Atlanta was used for all the Capitol scenes, Hawaii for the arena scenes and Oakland, New Jersey was used as the location for District 12.

Principal photography of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay began on September 23, 2013[36] and concluded on June 20, 2014. The majority of filming for the Mockingjay films was filmed in soundstages in a studio in Atlanta until April 18, 2014. Production then moved to Paris, France, with filming beginning there on May 5, 2014.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor who portrays Plutarch Heavensbee, was found dead on February 2, 2014. At the time of his death, he had completed filming his scenes for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and had a week left of shooting for Part 2. Lionsgate released a statement stating that due to the majority of Hoffman’s scenes being completed, the release date for Part 2 would not be affected.[37][38]


James Newton Howard scored the first film in the film series. There has been no confirmation yet on whether or not Howard will be involved with the final two films.


The Hunger Games (2012)[edit]

Every year, in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes”, the teenagers fighting within the arena, must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of her and Peeta's drunken, former-victor Haymitch Abernathy when she’s pitted against twenty-three other Tributes, some of whom have trained for the Hunger Games their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)[edit]

Along with fellow victor Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen returned home safely after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour" of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games - the Quarter Quell - a competition that could change Panem forever.

Upcoming films[edit]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)[edit]

Lionsgate announced that the third installment of the book trilogy, Mockingjay, will be split into two films. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 will be released in theaters on November 21, 2014.[39] Francis Lawrence was hired to direct the two final films.[40]

Katniss Everdeen finds herself in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)[edit]

To be directed by Francis Lawrence, the final film in the series will be released on November 20, 2015.[39][40]


Critical response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Hunger Games 84% (275 reviews) 67 (44 reviews)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 89% (229 reviews) 75 (47 reviews)
Average 87% 71

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Budget Box office gross Box office ranking Reference
North America Worldwide All time
North America
All time
The Hunger Games March 23, 2012 (2012-03-23) $78 million $408,010,692 $691,247,768 #15 #69 [41]
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22) $130 million $424,668,047 $864,565,663 #10 #36 [42]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 November 21, 2014 (2014-11-21) $250 million N/A N/A N/A N/A
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total $458 million $832678739 $1555813431 [43]

Recurring characters[edit]

Legacy in the Real World[edit]

Protesters against the 2014 Thai coup d'état have been reported to use the three-finger salute, symbolizing Thai rebellion.[44]


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  44. ^ The Thai protesters' Hunger Games salute shows a lack of political thought

External links[edit]