Suffering from withdrawal after seeing the final installment of the Hunger Games saga? Help may be on the way.
Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York today (Tuesday, Dec. 8), Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns suggested that even though the film adaptations of the Hunger Games books are finished, the franchise "will live on and on."
It's been rumored that Lionsgate was looking for a way to
milk even more cash out of expand the Hunger Games universe, and prequels have been mooted as one option. While Burns didn't specifically announce that they were happening, he did drop a major clue about what they might contain.
Noting that the two final films -- Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 -- shifted the emphasis from the Hunger Games themselves to the war against the totalitarian government of President Snow, Burns said, "The one thing that kids say they missed was there was no arenas ... If we went backwards, there obviously would be arenas.”
OK, let's stop right there. Whatever you think of the Hunger Games series (I'm speaking solely of the movies now), I would argue that one of its strengths was the fact that the story evolved. I found the second film, Catching Fire, to be the least interesting of the four because it was more or less a retelling of the first one, with different players joining Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in a more souped-up arena.
Plus, as we all know, prequels are a creative dead end because you already know where the story is going. Why would anyone be interested in seeing movies that just feature more kids killing each other in different arenas, serving no real narrative purpose except to spell out a backstory that everyone already knows?
Perhaps Burns should take a hard look at the numbers, too: While certainly no slouch, Mockingjay Part 2 is trailing behind its three predecessors at the box office and had the lowest opening weekend of the four. Is it possible, just possible, that audiences have had their fill of Panem and the Games?
If you need more Hunger Games in your life, Lionsgate also said earlier this month that it was planning theme parks in the U.S. and China based around the property (although we find it hard to imagine what kind of rides those would entail). And again, the company has not officially said that prequels on the way ... yet. With all that money on the table, however, it seems inevitable. But does it really have to be?