The Hunger Games (film series)

In this article, we will explore in depth the topic of The Hunger Games (film series) and its implications in today's society. From its origins to its impact today, we will analyze the different aspects related to The Hunger Games (film series) and its relevance in different areas. Through careful research and analysis, we will seek to better understand the role The Hunger Games (film series) plays in our lives and how it influences the way we think, act, and relate to the world around us. Additionally, we will closely examine expert opinions and current trends regarding The Hunger Games (film series), in order to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date view on this highly relevant topic.

The Hunger Games
Official film series logo
Directed by
Written by
Based onThe Hunger Games series
by Suzanne Collins
Produced by
Cinematography
Edited by
Music byJames Newton Howard (1–5)
Production
companies
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
2012–2015, 2023
Running time
705 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$593 million
Box office$3.3 billion

The Hunger Games film series is composed of science fiction dystopian adventure films, based on The Hunger Games series of novels by American author Suzanne Collins. The films are distributed by Lionsgate and produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. The series feature an ensemble cast including Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow. In the prequel film, Tom Blyth stars as Coriolanus Snow, Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth, Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow, Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul and Jason Schwartzman as Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman.

The first three films set various box office records. The Hunger Games (2012) set records for biggest opening day and biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel. Catching Fire (2013) set the record for biggest opening weekend of November. Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) had the largest opening day and weekend of 2014. The films, including Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015), were praised for their themes and Lawrence's performance. The prequel film The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023), received mixed reviews and had the lowest opening weekend of the series. The series is the 20th-highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having grossed $3.3 billion worldwide.

Background

Following the release of Suzanne Collins's novel The Hunger Games, on September 14, 2008, Hollywood film studios began looking to adapt the book into film. In March 2009, Color Force, an independent studio founded by producer Nina Jacobson, bought the film rights to the book.: 12  She then sought out production company Lionsgate to help her produce the film. Collins was also attached to adapt the novel; she began the first draft after completing the third novel in the series, Mockingjay (2010). The search for a director began in 2010 with three directors in the running; David Slade, Sam Mendes, and Gary Ross. Ross was ultimately chosen to direct. By the time Collins had finished the script, Ross decided to go through the script with Collins and screenwriter Billy Ray.

In October 2010, scripts were sent to the actors, and casting occurred between March and May 2011. The first role cast was of the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. As many as thirty actresses were in talks to play the part, with Jennifer Lawrence, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and Chloë Grace Moretz being mentioned most. The role was given to Lawrence.

The roles of Peeta Mellark, Katniss' 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. Contenders for Gale included Robbie Amell, Liam Hemsworth, David Henrie, and Drew Roy. On April 4, it was reported that Hemsworth had been cast as Gale, and Hutcherson had been cast as Peeta.

In May 2022, Tom Blyth was cast as the young President Snow, with Rachel Zegler as his protégée, tribute Lucy Gray Baird. Zegler was originally offered the role in January, but initially turned it down before later changing her mind. In June 2022, Josh Andrés Rivera (who previously starred in 2021's West Side Story alongside Zegler), Hunter Schafer and Jason Schwartzman were cast. Peter Dinklage was cast in the following month. Throughout June and July 2022, the cast was rounded out with actors portraying the film's multiple tributes and mentors. On August 15, 2022, it was reported that Viola Davis was cast as Volumnia Gaul, the head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. On September 16, 2022, more cast members were revealed, including Burn Gorman and Fionnula Flanagan as Commander Hoff and Grandma'am.

Films

Film U.S. release date Directed by Screenplay by Adaptation by Produced by
The Hunger Games March 23, 2012 (2012-03-23) Gary Ross Gary Ross, Billy Ray & Suzanne Collins Jon Kilik & Nina Jacobson
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22) Francis Lawrence Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 November 21, 2014 (2014-11-21) Peter Craig & Danny Strong Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20)
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes November 17, 2023 (2023-11-17) Michael Lesslie & Michael Arndt Brad Simpson & Nina Jacobson & Francis Lawrence

The Hunger Games (2012)

Every year, in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of the 12 districts to send a boy and girl tribute between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in the Hunger Games: a nationally televised event in which the 'tributes' fight each other to the death until one survivor remains. When Primrose Everdeen is "reaped," her older sister Katniss volunteers in her place as tribute to enter the games and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts and knowledge when she's pitted against highly trained and fierce "tributes" from all of the other districts and has to think quickly on her feet to survive.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Along with fellow District 12 victor Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen returns home safely after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Winning means that they must leave their loved ones behind and embark on a Victory Tour throughout the districts for a couple of days. Along the way Katniss senses a rebellion simmering upon the Capitol - one that she and Peeta may have sparked - but the Capitol is still under control as President Snow prepares for the 75th Hunger Games - the Third Quarter Quell in which past victors will be reaped - that could change Panem forever.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

Following her rescue from the devastating Quarter Quell, Katniss Everdeen awakes in the complex beneath the supposedly destroyed District 13. Her home, District 12, has been reduced to rubble by the Capitol. Peeta Mellark was kidnapped by the Capitol and is now brainwashed and being held captive by President Snow. Snow wants Peeta to forget everything he had loved about Katniss. At the same time, Katniss also learns about a secret rebellion spreading throughout Panem - a rebellion that places her at the center of attention, and compels her to turn the tables on President Snow.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen teams up with her closest friends, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, and Finnick Odair, on the ultimate mission for peace. Together, they leave District 13, to liberate citizens from a war that tears Panem apart more than ever. President Snow becomes obsessed with destroying Katniss and everyone and everything she loves. Ahead lie mortal traps, dangerous enemies, and moral choices that will determine the future of millions.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023)

Following a young Coriolanus, who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray's charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately sang a songbird or a monster.

Cast and crew

List indicator(s)

This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in more than two films in the series.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  •  A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
  •  C indicates a cameo role.
  •  V indicates a voice-only role.
  •  Y indicates a younger version of the character.
Character Film
The Hunger Games The Hunger Games:
Catching Fire
The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 1
The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 2
The Hunger Games:
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
2012 2013 2014 2015 2023
Coriolanus "Coryo" Snow Donald Sutherland Tom Blyth
Dexter Sol AnsellY
Donald SutherlandAVC
Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence
Peeta Mellark Josh Hutcherson
Gale Hawthorne Liam Hemsworth
Haymitch Abernathy Woody Harrelson
Effie Trinket Elizabeth Banks
Caesar Flickerman Stanley Tucci
Primrose Everdeen Willow Shields
Mrs. Everdeen Paula Malcomson
Cinna Lenny Kravitz
Plutarch Heavensbee Philip Seymour Hoffman
Beetee Latier Jeffrey Wright
Finnick Odair Sam Claflin
Johanna Mason Jena Malone
Annie Cresta Stef Dawson
President Alma Coin Julianne Moore
Boggs Mahershala Ali
Cressida Natalie Dormer
Messalla Evan Ross
Castor Wes Chatham
Pollux Elden Henson
Commander Paylor Patina Miller
Tigris Snow Eugenie Bondurant Hunter Schafer
Rosa GotzlerY
Lucy Gray Baird Rachel Zegler
Sejanus Plinth Josh Andrés Rivera
Dean Highbottom Peter Dinklage
Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman Jason Schwartzman
Dr. Volumnia Gaul Viola Davis
Commander Hoff Burn Gorman
Grandma'am Fionnula Flanagan
Clemensia Dovecote Ashley Liao
Festus Creed Max Raphael
Lysistrata Vickers Zoe Renee

Additional crew

Film Crew/Detail
Composer(s) Cinematographer Editor(s) Production companies Distributing company Running time
The Hunger Games James Newton Howard Tom Stern Stephen Mirrione & Juliette Welfling Lionsgate & Color Force Lionsgate 142 minutes
Catching Fire Jo Willems Alan Edward Bell 146 minutes
Mockingjay – Part 1 Mark Yoshikawa & Alan Edward Bell 123 minutes
Mockingjay – Part 2 137 minutes
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Mark Yoshikawa 157 minutes

Production

Development

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

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. 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 (2010), into two films: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015), much like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) and 2 (2011), and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) and 2 (2012).

Directors

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. On April 19, 2012, it was confirmed that Francis Lawrence would direct the sequel instead, and on November 1, 2012, it was confirmed that Lawrence would return and direct the final two films in the series, based on the novel Mockingjay. In April 2020, Collins and Lionsgate confirmed that plans were underway for the film's development. Francis Lawrence was later confirmed to direct, after doing so for the prior three films in the series since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Scripts

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 to bring the novel to life. After Francis Lawrence took over as director, he brought in Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt to write the script for Catching Fire. The final two films of the series were written by Danny Strong and Peter Craig. The prequel film of the series were written by Michael Arndt and Michael Lesslie.

Casting

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, and Dayo Okeniyi as Thresh. Alexander Ludwig (who auditioned for Peeta) was cast as Cato, Isabelle Fuhrman (who auditioned for Katniss) as Clove, and Jacqueline Emerson as Foxface. Following the casting of tributes, the adult cast began to come together. Elizabeth Banks was cast as Effie Trinket, the District 12 escort. Woody Harrelson was cast as Haymitch Abernathy, District 12's mentor. Lenny Kravitz was cast as Cinna, Katniss' stylist. Wes Bentley was cast as game maker Seneca Crane. Stanley Tucci was cast as Caesar Flickerman, Panem's celebrity host. Donald Sutherland was cast as Coriolanus Snow, Panem's president. Willow Shields was cast as Primrose Everdeen, Katniss' younger sister.

In July 2012, the cast for the second film was announced. Jena Malone would play Johanna Mason. Philip Seymour Hoffman would play Plutarch Heavensbee, Sam Claflin would play Finnick Odair. 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 August and September 2013, it was revealed that Stef Dawson would play Annie Cresta, Natalie Dormer would play Cressida, Evan Ross would play Messalla, and Julianne Moore would play President Alma Coin in the final two films.

In May 2022, it was announced that Tom Blyth was cast as the younger version of Coriolanus Snow in the prequel film. Later the same month, Rachel Zegler was cast in the role of Lucy Gray Baird. The following month, Josh Andrés Rivera, Hunter Schafer and Jason Schwartzman were cast in the roles of Sejanus Plinth, Tigris Snow and Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman respectively.

Filming

Principal photography for The Hunger Games began on May 24, 2011, and concluded on September 15, 2011. Charlotte, NC was used for the Capitol scenes. An abandoned village in Hickory, NC was the filming location for District 12. The arena scenes were filmed on the outskirts of Wilmington, NC. Principal photography for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire began on September 10, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia 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. Atlanta was used for all Capitol scenes. Hawaii for the arena scenes, and Oakland, New Jersey, for District 12 scenes.

Principal photography for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay began on September 23, 2013 and concluded on June 20, 2014. 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, with filming beginning there on May 5, 2014.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who portrays Plutarch Heavensbee, died 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, since the majority of Hoffman's scenes were completed, the release date for Part 2 would not be affected.

Principal photography for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes began in Wrocław, Poland on July 11, 2022, and ended in Berlin, Germany on November 5, 2022. Filming locations included the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig and the Centennial Hall in Wrocław. Some scenes in the film were also shot in the "Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord" in Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Reception

Box office performance

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget References
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
worldwide
The Hunger Games March 23, 2012 (2012-03-23) $408,010,692 $287,209,927 $695,220,619 42 148 $78 million
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22) $424,668,047 $440,343,699 $865,011,746 32 83 $130 million
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 November 21, 2014 (2014-11-21) $337,135,885 $418,221,218 $755,357,103 72 114 $125 million
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) $281,723,902 $379,732,661 $661,456,563 118 163 $160 million
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes November 17, 2023 (2023-11-17) $166,293,021 $170,663,084 $337,901,201 352 494 $100 million
Total $1,617,831,547 $1,696,170,589 $3,314,947,232 $593 million

All the Hunger Games films finished first at the North American box office during both their opening and second weekend. In North America, The Hunger Games film series is the second highest-grossing film series based on young adult books, after the Harry Potter series, earning over $1.4 billion. Worldwide, it is the third highest-grossing film series based on young-adult books after the film series of Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga, respectively, having grossed over $3 billion. In North America, it is the eighth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. As of January 2024, it is the 20th highest-grossing film franchise of all time worldwide.

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Hunger Games 84% (319 reviews) 68 (49 reviews) A
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 90% (297 reviews) 76 (49 reviews) A
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 70% (308 reviews) 64 (46 reviews) A−
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 70% (294 reviews) 65 (45 reviews) A−
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes 64% (232 reviews) 54 (52 reviews) B+

Each installment of the Hunger Games series received positive reviews from critics. The first two installments (notably the second) were critically acclaimed, while the last two films were met with generally positive responses from critics. All The Hunger Games films received ratings of over 60 percent on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, with the first two films receiving a rating of over 75 percent.

Accolades

Music

Soundtracks

Title U.S. release date Length Performed by Label
The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond March 20, 2012 58:10 Various Artists Universal Republic
The Hunger Games: Original Motion Picture Score March 26, 2012 42:16 James Newton Howard
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack November 19, 2013 47:58 Various Artists Republic
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Original Motion Picture Score November 25, 2013 1:14:58 James Newton Howard
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) November 17, 2014 50:11 Various Artists
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Original Motion Picture Score) November 24, 2014 1:09:38 James Newton Howard
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) November 23, 2015 60:13
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (Music from & Inspired by) November 17, 2023 49:56 Various Artists Geffen
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (Original Motion Picture Score) 87:06 James Newton Howard Sony Masterworks

Singles

Title U.S. release date Length Artist(s) Label Film
"Safe & Sound" December 26, 2011 (2011-12-26) 3:37 Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars Big Machine The Hunger Games
"One Engine" February 13, 2012 (2012-02-13) 3:01 The Decemberists Universal Republic
"Eyes Open" March 27, 2012 (2012-03-27) 4:04 Taylor Swift Big Machine
"Atlas" September 6, 2013 (2013-09-06) 3:56 Coldplay Parlophone Catching Fire
"Elastic Heart" October 1, 2013 (2013-10-01) 4:18 Sia featuring the Weeknd and Diplo RCA
Republic
Lionsgate
"We Remain" 4:00 Christina Aguilera
"Yellow Flicker Beat" September 29, 2014 (2014-09-29) 3:52 Lorde Republic Mockingjay –
Part 1
"All My Love" November 13, 2014 (2014-11-13) 3:32 Major Lazer featuring
Ariana Grande
"The Hanging Tree" December 9, 2014 (2014-12-09) 3:38 James Newton Howard
featuring
Jennifer Lawrence
"Deep in the Meadow (Baauer Remix)" November 23, 2015 (2015-11-23) 3:11 Baauer
featuring
Jennifer Lawrence
Mockingjay –
Part 2
"The Hanging Tree (Lucy Gray's Version)" October 20, 2023 (2023-10-20) 2:25 Rachel Zegler Geffen The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
"Can't Catch Me Now" November 3, 2023 (2023-11-03) 3:25 Olivia Rodrigo
"Mercy" November 7, 2023 (2023-11-07) 2:21 James Newton Howard Sony Masterworks

See also

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Further reading

External links