You might not have realized, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a behemoth. I mean, it topped Iron Man 3 on the box-office charts for 2013, earning $418 million domestically to become the highest grossing movie of last year. As a reminder, it came out in November, and still topped Shane Black’s Marvel movie, which was released in May. Lionsgate knows that it is sitting on a gold mine with the remaining two Hunger Games sequels – the adaptations of Mockingjay -- and is starting to reveal the intricate plans it will engage to promote the pending blockbusters.
"When we started, we decided to look at this as one big movie that’s eight hours long," Tim Palen, the head of Lionsgate’s marketing effort, told Yahoo Movies in a new interview. "Otherwise, it’s going to be kind of overwhelming to do a new campaign for each movie."
Producers acknowledged that they have won over domestic audiences, but want to go after larger international audiences. To that end, Lionsgate revealed that parts of the Mockingjay promotional campaign will be in Cannes in May, and at Comic-Con in July. That worked pretty well for the Catching Fire cast in Hall H last summer.
Until these major festivals, Team Hunger Games is trying to keep a lid on what has been filmed already. Director Francis Lawrence, who joined the series with Catching Fire, confirmed that they’ve had fun exploring the yet-to-be-seen District 13 ("Creating that is the really fun stuff," he says) and the Lionsgate execs are starting to make major connections to massive rival franchises. This might be a bit of a stretch, but Lionsgate production president Erik Feig started gushing about the last scene in Catching Fire and proclaimed:
Not since Luke Skywalker shot into the Death Star has one person had that kind of impact in a franchise film. What I really love about how (the 23-year-old Jennifer Lawrence) plays that character is that Katniss is larger than life and yet she wears her emotions in a very relatable way. She’s not a superhero by any stretch — she’s all too human in the face of extreme conditions — and she faces them with the presence of mind that we all wish we had."
Luke Skywalker, eh?
Still, there’s no denying the absolute dominance of the Hunger Games movies, and while Mockingjay presents issues when it comes to adapting the story (no spoilers: read it), the fans have proven that they are 100% behind this series. The first Mockingjay will be in theaters on Nov. 21, 2014, while the series conclusion will drop on Nov. 20, 2015.