That Gary RossThe Hunger Games would get a sequel was practically a forgone conclusion before the film ever opened. Now that it’s officially become a hit, drawing in $368 million to date, it’s an absolutely sure bet that we’ll see Katniss, Gale and Peeta again on the big screen before long. Less certain, however, is whether writer-director Ross will return for the second installment, Catching Fire. While stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth are locked in for the sequel, Ross is not, and he’s reportedly battling with the studio for a hefty pay raise. More details after the jump.

Read More »

.

Please Recommend /Film on Facebook

There’s a great semi-futuristic story of brutal combat, in which a battered nation is captivated as two-person teams battle one another to the death in an ironic but potent allegory of public entertainment and government control gone wrong. A reserved but driven hero manipulates public perception to gain an edge in the games, and could ultimately become something more significant than a survivor.

I’m not thinking of The Hunger Games; I’m thinking of Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000, released in 1975 and made under producer Roger Corman. Death Race 2000 does a lot of things right, as Corman’s shoestring affairs go. It has the silly, exploitative and satirical angles covered with material to spare. What it doesn’t have, however, is a truly compelling main character. The Hunger Games has that one thing Bartel didn’t: a killer lead performance, in this case from Jennifer Lawrence as the young family provider turned warrior Katniss Everdeen. That’s just about all it’s got.

As satire and allegory, The Hunger Games is a whiff and a miss. But as a portrait of Katniss, it has the benefit of featuring Lawrence in nearly every scene, and the young actress doesn’t squander the movie’s opportunity. I suspect that in twenty years Winter’s Bone will be the movie in which we turn back to see Lawrence play an impressive provider, but The Hunger Games makes a good introduction to the fierce Lawrence, if nothing else. Read More »

After almost a decade away from the director’s chair, Gary Ross is back with a bang. He’s directed the highly-anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and he’s done it with the kind of vision and passion only a true fan could have accomplished. The film, which opens March 23 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and many others, is both a faithful adaptation of the book as well as a perfect movie version of the story. Everything fans want is in there and things they aren’t expecting are sprinkled in to help expand the world in a way only a movie can.

A few weeks back, I spoke with Ross on the occasion of The Hunger Games and we discussed his unique directorial choices with the film, his favorite, and least favorite, additions and subtractions from the original novel, some of his plans looking forward to casting (Finnick Odair!) and shooting the second film, Catching Fire, and much more. Read it all after the jump. Read More »

After months — really years — of waiting, The Hunger Games are almost here. And with positive early buzz (including Germain’s glowing review) just adding to the hype, the Lionsgate marketing machine is heading into the final push with yet another Hunger Games clip. Following a previously released scene which saw Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) making his very public move on Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), the new clip explores the bond between longtime pals Katniss and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) as they say their farewells before she heads into the Games. Watch it after the jump.

Read More »

When Lionsgate began the task of adapting The Hunger Games for the screen, the odds were never in its favor. The book was too violent, too well-known and too hard to translate because not only was it about kids killing each other, it would also have to create a whole new world.

I’m happy to report that director/co-writer Gary Ross has made the impossible possible. With The Hunger Games he has made a rousing, highly-emotional, and epic film that will be engaging for new audiences and give chills to true fans. It’s hard to imagine someone making a better adaptation of Suzanne Collins‘ popular novel.

Major set pieces all carry the emotional resonance and excitement they deserve. Every single performance pops with life and energy. When changes are made, they’re made to streamline the huge story. Even so, the film never feels slight. If anything, at 2 hours and 22 minutes, it might be too long and a little more subtle than most audiences are used to. It demands us to infer and enjoy the ride. And we oblige.  Read More »

It may be a while before we see the triumphant return of Bob and Helen Parr and their superpowered brood, but if Joss Whedon is to be believed, a rematch between Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer may not be so far off. After the jump:

  • Joss Whedon will get started on Dr. Horrible 2 this summer
  • Catching Fire (a.k.a. Hunger Games 2) won’t be in 3D
  • Hey look, it’s another new Riddick image
  • Brad Bird might maybe do an Incredibles 2 someday, eventually
  • Madagascar 3 will debut at Cannes

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Briefly: Sold out early shows aren’t typically the most interesting news item, but in the case of The Hunger Games, Lionsgate and IMAX are going pretty far to satisfy those who want to see the film as early as possible. The film will open on 270 IMAX screens in North America, but will occupy them for only one week , and the first midnight shows are already selling out. The response? Add more shows!

IMAX president Greg Foster said today “With two weeks to go, we have seen substantial midnight sellouts in IMAX theatres across the country leading exhibitors to begin offering 3 AM shows to meet demand.” So if you don’t need to be up early on Friday March 23, or if you want to be up really early, and also want to catch a sleepy-time showing of Gary Ross‘ movie, you’re covered. (Oh, and the IMAX presentation is an upconvert; none of the film was shot natively in the IMAX format.)

That’s via Deadline; hit the break for Ross’ comments about 3D, which he says he has no intent to use for the sequels. Read More »

Another day, another The Hunger Games clip. Where most of the previous ones have focused on Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) — she is the protagonist, after all — this one puts the spotlight on her fellow competitor Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). In it, he sits down for his public interview with Caesar (Stanley Tucci) and makes a declaration that, true or not, is sure to pique the interest of viewers and potential sponsors. Watch it after the jump.

Read More »

The news fans of The Hunger Games have been waiting for is finally here. I’m now allowed to officially say the movie is exceptional. A full review will be out next week as we get closer to the March 23 release but, the second you walk out of it you’ll be dying to see the sequel: Catching Fire. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy is adapting the book and director Gary Ross, who knocked this movie out of the park, will be back along with the entire surviving cast. And if we’re talking about Catching Fire, it’s hard not to think of MockingJay, the third and final book in the series.

A few months back, Lionsgate suggested they might go the Twilight/Harry Potter route and split that final book into two movies, a decision many fans saw as unneccsary. At a recent junket, I asked producer Nina Jacobson – the woman who discovered Suzanne Collins‘ book in a book store and brought it to Hollywood – if that was actully going to happen. Read her answer after the jump and check back soon for a full interview with Ross. Read More »