Briefly: The second Hunger Games film, Catching Fire, has just been shooting in and around Atlanta, but Lionsgate is already thinking forward to the next two films in the series which will adapt the third novel as two films. The first stage of the process in getting Mockingjay to work as a two-parter is scripting, and the studio has tapped Danny Strong to write the screenplay. Strong had good headlines recently when he won two Emmys for producing and writing the HBO Sarah Palin movie Game Change and he wrote The Butler for Lee Daniels.

I won’t post the full synopsis of Mockingjay for fear of the people who are afraid of spoilers, but suffice to say it involves the continuing story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her tense relationship with the powers that be in The Capitol who try to keep weary citizens under control through the Hunger Games. The first part of Mockingjay will hit on November 21, 2014, while the second will open on November 20, 2015. Francis Lawrence is directing Catching Fire, but we don’t yet know if he’ll continue on with the series. [Variety]

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Lionsgate recently revealed a plan to turn the final Hunger Games novel, Mockingjay, into two films rather than one. The release dates for those last two chapters are already set, for November 21, 2014 and November 20, 2015. Given that the second film, which has yet to even shoot, and is still announcing cast members, opens on November 22, 2013, that means there are three consecutive Thanksgivings with Hunger Games releases to come. 

But there might be one problem with that plan: the aggressive release schedule means that Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence might not be able to helm the third and fourth films. And so Lionsgate is already looking for his Hunger Games successor. Read More »

Three major release dates were announced Tuesday, the biggest being the official dates for the first and second half of the final Hunger Games film, Mockingjay. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will be released November 21, 2014 while its follow up, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will be out a year later, November 20, 2015. The second film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is coming November 22, 2013, meaning three years in a row The Hunger Games will rule Thanksgiving.

Also, the action film Need for Speed, based on the popular EA racing franchise, will be released February 7, 2014. Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) will direct. [Source: Deadline]

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 »

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