Hunger Games Catching Fire Peeta Katniss

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire isn’t your typical blockbuster sequel. Yes it’s bigger and better than the original movie. The stakes have been raised and new characters are added. But what makes Catching Fire unique is how it’s infused with a gravitas most major Hollywood entertainment lacks. At every single turn, the plight of the citizens of Panem is felt as they face the cruel tyranny of the Capitol, adding layers of pathos and tension to everything we see. Couple that with the impressive IMAX visuals and a more surprising story, and Catching Fire joins that rare breed of sequels that improve on the original. Read More »

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Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

At 23, Jennifer Lawrence has reached heights most of us never even dream of. She won the Oscar for Best Actress with her second nomination, for Silver Linings Playbook. She stars in a superhero franchise and toplines another of the biggest franchises in Hollywood, The Hunger Games. Without a doubt, she’s one of the biggest stars in the world, yet has somehow managed to remain genuine, funny and unfiltered. Jennifer Lawrence isn’t only America’s sweetheart, she’s everyone’s sweetheart.

So, in short, sites like /Film usually don’t get to speak to her, especially not for a film as highly anticipated as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But you ask nicely, expect to get turned down, and then somehow find yourself outside a hotel room, the only online outlet who’ll be speaking one on one, in person, with Hollywood’s darling. No pressure.

While I can’t gauge my performance, Lawrence did not disappoint. Even after two full days of non-stop press, Katniss Everdeen herself snuggled up on her hotel room chair, slippers and all, and spoke eloquently about the pathos in Catching Fire, its political messages, shooting with IMAX cameras, her duties as reigning Best Actress, how often she gets out to the movies, Short Term 12, “texting Fassbender” (yes, that one), why promoting X-Men movies can be better than Hunger Games and the insane Internet notion she could play a female Han Solo. Read the full interview below. Read More »

The Hunger Games Catching Fire - Katniss and Finnick header

If you’re looking for someone to credit for the success of The Hunger Games, producer Nina Jacobson is a good start. The former Disney executive turned producer was one of the main reasons Suzanne Collins‘ book got picked up by Hollywood. Now, with the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she’s right in the middle of all the major discussions: casting new roles, filming in IMAX, keeping Francis Lawrence with the franchise, splitting Mockingjay, hiding the arena in the marketing, and changing the character of Finnick Odair.

We spoke to Jacobson about all of these things as well as a few more spoilery things about the end of Catching Fire. Read the full interview below. Read More »

Catching Fire wedding dress

This weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is going to be the #1 movie at the box office. That’s a fact. The only question is exactly how much it’s going to make. $100 million? $150 million? $200 million? Fans are so rabid about the film, the sky is the limit. And while the majority of that number will be from traditional movie theaters, a percentage will be from IMAX too. In fact, director Francis Lawrence was so insistent Catching Fire be bigger than the original film, he shot the entire Games sequence with IMAX film cameras.

Having now seen the film twice, I can report the IMAX sequence is just under 50 minutes in length. While that’s not the most IMAX footage ever contained in a Hollywood film (Christopher Nolan holds that record with The Dark Knight Rises and its 72 minutes of footage) no feature film has ever had that much footage in a continuous sequence.  Read More »

TDKR Nascar

NASCAR is one of the biggest sports in the country that some of us know very little about. Hollywood is hoping to change that in the years ahead as Lionsgate and Odd Lot Entertainment have just bought Spitfire, a pitch by Grant Thompson. The film, which will be executive produced by NASCAR, will tell the true story of the sport’s origins. Here’s the interesting part about that. NASCAR was born when a group of female drivers formed a professional racing league. Read More »

Divergent

2011′s The Descendants brought widespread acclaim to Shailene Woodley, and this year’s The Spectacular Now earned her still more compliments. But it’s next year’s Divergent that really has the potential to make her a household name a la Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart, or Daniel Radcliffe.

Based on the dystopian YA novel (boy, am I getting tired of typing that phrase) by Veronica Roth, Divergent is set in a futuristic Chicago in which all citizens are aligned with one of five factions depending on their personalities. Upon coming of age, Tris (Woodley) learns that she is Divergent, meaning she won’t truly fit into any of those categories. Needless to say, this does not sit well in a society built on tidy divisions. Hit the jump to watch the latest trailer.

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Jennifer-Lawrence-in-The-Hunger-Games

Briefly: This probably won’t be exactly the theme park you’re looking for — we presume there will be no killing — but everyone wants to be a victor, and theme park companies know it. Lionsgate announced today that it is considering a new theme park attraction based on The Hunger Games. In the same conference call that brought us the news of Ender’s Game possibly migrating to television, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said that the company has had offers in “two territories about potential theme park opportunities” based on The Hunger Games. We don’t know what territories, or what parks.

Still, for certain types of film series, the theme park attraction can be a great money machine that goes beyond what disc media sales and other licensing can create. And so Feltheimer says “We’re excited about those opportunities and we’re pursuing them.”

Maybe someone will design a great attraction that puts attendees not in the Games, but in the crowd during the Reaping, or just throws visitors into the poorest District areas, and has them try to feed a family. That would be a neat twist. Because otherwise a shiny theme park attraction seems like a really weird and even inappropriate way to keep The Hunger Games going.  [The Wrap]

‘Ender’s Game’ Sequel Could Land on TV

Ender's Game Battle Room

Briefly: ‘Tis the season for the corporate earnings call, and we’re getting a lot of interesting news out of a couple of these conferences between execs and shareholders. Disney had its call yesterday, and opened the day by announcing four new Marvel shows and an “event miniseries” on Netflix — a good way to keep shareholders happy on the important day.

Lionsgate did its own call today, and one question concerned the future of Ender’s Game as a possible franchise. The film directed by Gavin Hood hasn’t performed in quite the way a company might hope a big sci-fi piece would, with $41m in global earnings so far, but that’s not so bad for a film that has a story and ending like Ender’s. The film, which hews close to the source material in many ways, isn’t quite a big crowd-rousing spectacle.

So there’s no instant sequel green light. Asked about the future of Ender today, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said the company plans to “wait another week or two” before making the decision. But there’s a wrinkle, as he also said that Ender’s story could spin off to TV. [Variety]

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